This week in 2009

“I just hope God’s will be done and everybody finds the peace they need. I’m good.”

— Jimmy Lee Dill, convicted of murder, lethal injection, Alabama.
Executed April 16, 2009

Dill killed Leon Shaw during a robbery of money and cocaine in 1988. The victim’s son, Leon Shaw Jr., attended Dill’s execution with his mother and two of Dill’s nieces.

“I told him I forgave him,” Leon Shaw Jr. said afterward. “I see him as a victim, a victim of his raising, a victim of the circumstances. I see my dad as a victim, too, and it’s continuing.”


This week in 1997

“Sweet Jesus, here I come. Take me home. I am going your way.”

— Kenneth Gentry, convicted of murder, lethal injection, Texas.
Executed April 16, 1997

Gentry, an escapee from a Georgia prison, shot hitchhiker Jimmy Don Ham in an attempt to steal and assume his identity. During his stay in Denton County Jail, he made another escape attempt, having convinced his mother to smuggle him a pistol.

A year later, Gentry tried yet again to escape, this time combining his efforts with those of another death row inmate. They were restrained and recaptured at the front gate.


This week in 1886

“Hurry up, old man, or Clark will want another drink of whisky. If you don’t look out, I may fall through and sue the city for damages.”

— Allen J. Adams, convicted of murder, hanging, Massachusetts.
Executed April 16, 1886

Adams spent time as a whaler, moonshiner, and a prisoner of the Connecticut State Prison before he murdered his boss, Moses B. Dickenson, in 1875 and then disappeared for ten years. He turned up again in Tennessee, where he was convicted for forgery. To avoid the chain gang, he confessed to the murder and returned to Massachusetts for his March 16 hanging. Two days before his sentence, Adams tried to cut his own throat. His execution was postponed for a month while he healed.

The man named Clark was the sheriff.


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