This week in 1941

February 14th, 2015 by admin

“I am a young man still. To me, life is life whether inside a penitentiary or out. I stand convicted of murder, but in my heart, I am no murderer. Here, surely, is the contingency for which the alternative penalty was planned.”

— Dewitt Cook, convicted of rape and murder, gas chamber, California.
Executed January 31, 1941

Cook, age twenty-one, listened to the radio on the last night of his life, which he spent sleepless, and come morning he refused breakfast. He had been convicted two years prior for bludgeoning to death Anya Sosoyeva, a twenty-four-year-old dancer and art student. His appeal for clemency was rejected. During his last night, he spoke with a guard. “I made up my mind,” he said. “I have to go.”

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