This week in 1995

“Governor Tucker, look over your shoulder; justice is coming. I wouldn’t trade places with you or any of your
cronies. Hell has victories; I am at peace.”

— Richard Snell, convicted of murder, lethal injection, Arkansas.
Executed April 19, 1995

A white supremacist, Snell expressed no regret for killing a Jewish businessman during a robbery and a black police officer during a traffic stop. Snell quoted Hitler’s deputy Rudolf Hess and told the clemency board that he would “probably” shoot the officer again “under the same circumstances.”


This week in 1858

“I wish to speak a few words to my German countrymen…Keep away from bad company, and let liquor alone. Do not
covet the money of others, and do not let your wish for money lead you into crime. I implore you to get religion, to go to church, and to pray to God, for there is more rejoicing in Heaven over one sinner who repents than ninety-nine that need no repentance. Be warned by me, and do not commit sin. Amen.”

— Albert Staub, convicted of murder, hanging, Illinois.
Executed April 20, 1858

Originally from Switzerland, twenty- two-year-old Staub immigrated to the United States ten months before his execution for the murder of Peter Lauermann. According to a Chicago Tribune article, Staub killed Lauermann either for his horse and team or because of a political argument that turned physical. On the gallows, he spoke for five minutes in German. The above quotation is a translation “in substance” by a reporter at the scene.


This week in 1928

“Beautiful world . . . I’ve forgiven everybody. . . . I haven’t a thing to say. Turn ’er loose. . . . Good-bye, Doc. . . . You’re
a wonderful old boy. I haven’t got a thing against anybody in the world. I forgive everybody. I can do that because
of this wonderful Jewish rabbi. That’s all. Good-bye.”

— Charles Birger, convicted of murder, hanging, Illinois.
Executed April 19, 1928

A gang leader in southern Illinois, Birger was convicted of hiring two men to murder the mayor of West City. Birger scoffed and jeered during his sanity trial while deputies were trying to testify, and at one point he got up and remarked, “We’ll take a smoke on that, judge, as you can’t do any more to me than you already have.”

When asked where he wanted to be buried, Birger said, “A Catholic cemetery because that’s the last place the devil would look for a Jew.”


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