This week in 2004

“…I am not angry but I am disappointed that I was denied justice. But I am happy that I was afforded you all as family and friends. I love you all. Please just keep the struggle going. . . . I am just sorry and I am not as strong as I thought I was going to be…You are all my family. Please keep my memory alive.”

— Dominique Jerome Green, convicted of murder, lethal injection,Texas.
Executed October 26, 2004

Green and three accomplices robbed and shot Andrew Lastrapes Jr. to death, prosecutors said, in a parking lot. Many of Lastrapes’s relatives opposed the execution, and his widow, Bernatte Luckett Lastrapes, wrote to the Texas governor and parole board in support of Green: “All of us have forgiven Dominique for what happened and want to give him another chance at life. Everyone deserves another chance.” Green was the subject of Thomas Cahill’s book “A Saint on Death Row.”


This week in 1769

“With my comrades I fought! With them I die!”

— Jean Baptiste Noyan, convicted of treason, firing squad, Louisiana.
Executed October 25, 1769

Noyan was of one five leaders executed in the Rebellion of 1768, a revolt by local settlers to stop the handover of the French-controlled Louisiana territory to Spain. Noyan was sentenced to hang on the same day as four other French ex-patriots, but there was no public executioner to drop the gallows. Noyan was marched into New Orleans’ Place d’Armes with the others but, while handcuffed, was offered clemency from the governor. Noyan, a nephew of the founder of New Orleans, refused.


This week in 1947

In a note to the warden:
“I am write [sic] you this letter to let you know how much I appreciate what you have did for me tell all the Boys in here and on the outside that Crimes don’t pay no one but the lawyers.”

En route to the death chamber:
“I’m going to sit in the chair and go to sleep.”

— Ernest Gaither JR., convicted of murder, electric chair, Illinois.
Executed October 24, 1947

Gaither went to the electric chair for the shooting death of Max Baran during a three-hundred-dollar bar robbery. He spent his final day reading the Bible and writing letters, and requested a bowl of cornflakes for his last meal. Waiting for midnight to arrive, he sang gospel songs including “Just a Little Talk with Jesus” and “I Know the Lord Has Laid His Hand on Me.” Witnesses to his execution included his two sons.


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