CANADA DEATH PENALTY INDEX
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Last Words: "For Boston man Brady, three Indians hang and one squaw go to jail for life. For Marks and his girl, three more Indians hang. But for eleven Boston and King George men I shoot with my arrows, only one Indian pay with his life because he great chief. He worth many men and women. Ah-Chee-Wun, me!"
Notes: Ah-Chee-Wun was the chief of the Lemalchi tribe and had a legendary reputation among other tribes for murdering both white people and Indians. He encouraged members of his tribe to murder William Brady on Saltspring Island and Frederick Marks and his daughter Caroline on Saturna Island. British Columbia police took charge of a gunboat from Esquimalt and went looking for the murderers and Ah-Chee-Wun. They caught up with the tribe at Kuper Island and demanded the surrender of the suspects. When no Indians gave themselves up the gunboat opened fire. The Indians responded with rifle fire and arrows, killing one sailor. The boat withdrew and the tribe escaped. After dropping off a few suspects picked up during the trip the police decided to search Galiano Island. The ran into the Lemalchi tribe and after a gunfight Ah-Chee-Wun surrendered. He was held responsible for the death of the sailor and hanged with two Indians convicted for the Marks murders. Three murderers of Brady were previously hanged.
Last Words: a long loud lamentable wail
Notes: This Chimsean Indian stabbed Thomas Brown on 16 Jul 1860. Brown constantly visited Allache's home to assault his wife. He was hanged by a prisoner arrested for selling illegal spirits (ironically Allache's dealer) who received $50 and a pardon for performing the execution. Allache did not have a lawyer, just a translator who didn't even speak his dialect. Allache said that another Indian who gave him the knife and told him to kill Brown should have been equally guilty. The day before his trial a white man received a 4 year sentence for the stabbing death of a drunken homeless man.
Last Words: "Good-bye."
Notes: James Barry and Americans Charles Morgan Blessing and Wellington Moses were travelling from New Westminster to Barkerville. Moses took note of a unique gold pin that Blessing was wearing. Moses stopped at Quesnel to set up a barber shop for a few days and agreed to meet Blessing at Barkerville. When Moses reached Barkerville he found that Blessing never arrived. A customer showed up wearing the gold pin. He found out the man received it from a dance-hall girl who in turn had got it from Barry. Moses told his story to the authorities and when Blessing's body was found in the woods Barry was apprehended. Judge Begbie tried the case and Barry was hanged with an Indian named Palsk.
Notes: Bell stabbed his mistress, Annie Allen, when she refused to live with him. Hanged at 9:30 am. Bell had moved to Canada from Spokane, Washington, US.
Last Words: "Gentlemen, I bid you all goodbye."
Notes: Fired 2 shots at Philip Walker while he was chopping wood. Fled the scene in a canoe. The 8 am hanging was witnessed by Chief Lewis, the chief of Casimer's tribe.
Notes: Chacotomakah, also known as Jim, was a Bella Bella Indian. He murdered John Holmes in the fall of 1862 near Bella Bella village. Chacotomakah was offered a last drink but declined saying that since he had received the consolation of religion he didn't need the alcohol. He maintained his cool throughout the ordeal. A newpaper said that "probably less than 100 persons" witnessed the hanging. It then blamed the apparently poor turnout on the early hour of the hanging (7am) and that the case was not well known.
Last Words: Told the spectators in his own language that "One-eyed" Tom was the real murderer.
Notes: This Cowichan Indian was convicted for the murder of Thomas Holmes. Hanged at Police Barracks. The executioner was a convict who received for his services a pardon and $50 to recommence his life. The spectators were disgusted with the hangman for his actions while the body was hanging; he used his foot to tighten the noose and shook the rope. Charley's father was an inmate in the same jail but did not wish to visit his son.
Clark, Herman F.
Notes: On 13 May 1913 Clark, Frank Davis and William Hamilton were exiting a store during a nighttime robbery when Constable James Archibald encountered them. They shot him as he was arresting them. The trio were caught the next day. Hamilton gave evidence and was granted immunity.
Notes: On 13 May 1913 Davis, Herman Clark, and William Hamilton were exiting a store during a nighttime robbery when Constable James Archibald encountered them. They shot him as he was arresting them. The trio were caught the next day. Hamilton gave evidence and was granted immunity.
Frith, Alfred James Ernest
Last Words: "Goodbye Sheriff; I'm ready."
Notes: Murdered Frederick James Bailey, a storekeeper at the Esquimalt dockyard. Frith asked Bailey to accompany him to the storehouse, then shot him in the head with a revolver. He was known as a model prisoner during his time in the jail. Hanged at 8:02 am. The attending doctor was Dr Helmcken, a well-known early settler of Victoria. Frith's statement of his crime was "Well no one will ever know why I did it. I did it: and I'm prepared to die."
Notes: On 23 May 1934 Constables Frank Gisbourne and Percival Carr were investigating the stabbing of Eneas George's wife on the Canford Reserve near Merritt. They were beaten to death with sticks and rocks by Eneas and his brothers Richardson and Alex. The officers' bodies were found in the Nicola River. Eneas and Richardson were hanged. Alex's death sentence was commuted to life in prison.
Notes: On 07 Dec 1955 Gordon and a partner were casing a business for a robbery. Vancouver police officer Constable Gordon Sinclair was shot in his car while investigating the prowlers. The partner was arrested in Toronto and gave evidence against Gordon to avoid the death penalty.
Notes: Killed Kamloops police officer John Ussher and shepherd James Kelly while being arrested for horse stealing. Hanged with the McLean brothers who also participated in the murder. Only known time when 3 brothers were hanged together.
Notes: James was being transported to Kelown aboard a paddle wheel boat by Constable Geoffrey H. Aston. However he had a pistol on him that was not found during a search. He shot Aston and escaped the boat. James was soon caught by ranchers; Aston died 10 days after the shooting.
Last Words: My dear friends, there are many white men who do wrong to the Indians, and many Indians who do wrong to whites. I should like all this ill-feeling to stop and I want you all to help to bring it about. Take pity on the poor Indians! Look at me, think of what will happen to me today. See what I have come to! Have no trouble and do no wrong to white men. Do not be downhearted at what will befall me today but turn your hearts to God. Friends, tell all my friends at Fort Wrangel [Alaska] to pray for me. Tell them I said this without fear or trembling; I am not afraid to die. I have prayed to God to forgive me. While I stand here I think of all the great white chiefs I have been told of, Queen Victoria, Washington and others. They are all good people. Are you there, John? [A man in the crowd acknowledges] John, it is good for you to let everyone,white and Indian, know what I have said. I will not shame my people; I will not ask for mercy. John, I do not want to be buried here. My dying wish is to be buried in my own country, among my own people. Bye. Go ahead.
Notes: Johnson was looking around Laketon for his wayward wife. People he asked jokingly responded that they had seen her with another man. By the time he found her he was furious. When she refused to go home he attempted to stab her. A man who witnessed this tried to break them up and Johnson shot at him but missed. George Jenkinson also attempted to help and was stabbed and died within minutes. A posse was formed but by the time the only gun owner in town found his rifle and bullets Johnson had fled into the woods. Next day police apprehended him after a gunfight. The case was tried by Judge Matthew Begbie. The following year he wrote a letter to the provincial Attorney General about a error in the sentence. He had told the court, including Constable Crimp who was present, that it would take at least two months for Ottawa to either approve or commute the sentence. He complained that for some reason Constable Crimp hanged Johnson as soon as two months were up instead of waiting for approval from Ottawa. The order to execute Johnson was approved on 4 Oct; 4 days after the execution took place.
Notes: Murdered American William Brady at Saltspring Island on 05 Apr 1863. Others convicted were Swane a hya and Stalebam. All hanged together at the Police Barracks.
Notes: With 3 others robbed his employer's safe. When his co-conspirators didn't equally share the money with him he shot at them on 24 Jul 1892. On lived, one died of a heart attack and he was charged with the shooting death of Lung Chow. Double-hanged with Dominick Teragnola. During incarceration a quarter was taken from him. At the gallows he insisted it be returned so he could buy his first meal in heaven. A spectator gave him a coin which he put in his shoe.
Notes: Leader of a group of Indians that went on a rampage to protest the construction of a road into the BC interior. 13 workers were killed. The militia eventually captured the leaders and Judge Begbie sentenced five of them to death. The other four were Chessus, Piell, Tahpit, and Telloot. Ahan was captured and hanged the following year.
Notes: Murdered Chief Constable Alexander Sandy D. Main 14 Apr 1900. Main approached Luck to question him about a theft. Luck stabbed him and his dog. He buried them in a shallow grave. John Radclive was engaged to perform the hanging. Due to rain swelling the wood of the gallows he couldn't get the trapdoor to open. He asked Sheriff Armstrong to help. When Armstrong pulled the lever the door sprung open.
Notes: Mantha and Aaron Jenkins were lovers. Mantha was a former naval sailor who had been discharged and subsequently became a civilian sailor. Jenkings was a pay clerk who worked and lived at CFB Esquimalt. Jenkins was in the process of breaking up the relationship. During a confrontation on 5 Sept 1958 Mantha punched Jenkins in the head. Later that night Mantha got drunk and was contemplating suicide by driving off a cliff near the navy base but was interrupted by a military police officer. Instead he sneaked through the fence, onto the base and entered the barracks, Nelles Block. He made his way to room 150 where Jenkins lived. He later said he didn't remember stabbing Jenkins in his bed. Mantha escaped quickly before Jenkins' screaming awoke his roommate. He died within minutes. Police found letters from Mantha in Jenkins' locker and went to his house. He admitted to killing Jenkins. Mantha's defence attorney tried to get the charge reduced to manslaughter. The autopsy had determined that the punch by Mantha earlier in the day had caused fatal trauma and Jenkins was already dying before he was stabbed. Mantha was convicted of murder and was sentenced to death twice. After the first sentence a clerk noticed the judge had given an incorrect date for the execution. Mantha was brought back to court to hear the sentence again with the right date. His lawyer George Gregory, himself a former naval sailor, was greatly effected by this case. He attended the execution and eventually became a judge who reluctantly handed down one of the last death sentences in British Columbia (was not carried out). In 1973 Gregory committed suicide.
Notes: Shot Vancouver Detective Richard Levis on 27 Aug 1914 while being investigated for a stabbing. Fled to the US where he was from. Arrested in Chicago.
Notes: Allan, Archie, and Charlie killed Kamloops police officer John Ussher and shepherd James Kelly while being arrested for horse stealing. Hanged with Alex Hare who also participated in the murder. Only known time when 3 brothers were hanged together.
Notes: On 26 Feb 1947 Medos and two other men were involved in a shootout with Vancouver police while preparing to rob a bank. Constable Charles Boyes and Constable Oliver Ledingham were killed as was one of the robbers. Another officer was injured. The third robber was aquitted.
Last Words: Told the hangman to place the knot of the noose under his left ear and pull it tight.
Notes: Murdered his friend Henry Foreman while drunk. Claimed to remember nothing. The anonymous executioner wore a mask. Hanged at 5:56 am. Though the hanging took place within the confines of the jail yard, many people witnessed it from nearby rooftops. The attending doctor was Dr Helmcken, a well-known early settler of Victoria. Schooley was born in New York state.
Notes: Legend has it Slumach was the only one who knew the location of a gold mine (the lost Mine of Pit Lake) and the secret died with him.
Notes: Smith tried to escape from jail. During the attempt Guard J.H. Joynson was shot. Another prisoner with Smith was also killed. The escape was on 07 Oct 1912. Smith was from England.
Last Words: To hangman Arthur English: "Step on it, kid."
Sproule, Robert Evan
Notes: In 1882 Sproule staked a mineral claim at Kootenay Lake. He fell ill and had to leave the site. During his absence Thomas Hammill, who headed a group backed by George Hearst (William Randolph Hearst's father) jumped the claim. After court proceedings Sproule won his claim back but one of his partners went bankrupt and that share of the claim was auctioned of to Hammill. On 01 Jun 1886 the two met at the claim and Sproule lost his patience and shot Hammill. He was tried and hanged in Victoria.
Notes: Murdered American William Brady at Saltspring Island on 05 Apr 1863. Others convicted were Swane a hya and Kaisuc. All hanged together at the Police Barracks
Notes: Storm was the son of an English baronet. He eloped with the family maid. The pair arrived in California and eventually ended up in Barkerville. By now he was addicted to gambling and depended on his wife's earnings as a dance hall girl. Storm and a partner ambushed a pair of couriers carrying cash. However, the one they shot, named Clegg, was carrying an empty saddlebag and the man in possession of the money escaped and was able to report the crime. Storm's partner drowned while trying to cross a creek and soon after Storm was captured by police with the assistance of Indian trackers. Storm was tried under his alias, William Armitage, by Judge Begbie. He was hanged on a scaffold and buried under Lillooet's infamous Hanging Tree.
Swane a hya
Notes: Murdered American William Brady at Saltspring Island on 05 Apr 1863. Others convicted were Kausuc and Stalebam. All hanged together at the Police Barracks. He was also known as Orlatza.
Last Words: Tahak asked another member of his tribe to take his son into his home and act as his father. Then he chanted a death song.
Notes: Three white men returning from Stekin landed to camp at an island near Ft Simpson. They bought an Indian woman (using blankets as currency) from Tahak and another Indian. Soon after they left the woman persuaded them to return to the island. Shots were fired at the men, 2 were killed and the 3rd managed to escape. Commander Pike arrived on the scene and arrested several Indians, one of whom turned in evidence against Tahak. His motive was that previously a white man had taken an Indian woman who was Tahak's relative. The woman's sick child was thrown overboard by the white man. When the woman told Tahak he vowed vengeance. Tahak confessed to the crime and asked to be shot instead of hanged. A convict named Spraig serving a life sentence was asked to be hangman and offered a discharge. He declined saying he would never be able to respect himself. Another convict named Burke, who stole the colony Governor's horse at Hope while on parole, was offered the job and accepted. Tahak was from the Shimpsean tribe.
Notes: Wagner, better known as the "Flying Dutchman", was a former member of the Cassidy Gang. After the gang split up Wagner committed a rash of crimes before ending up in a Washington State prison for 14 years. Upon release he murdered a postmaster, so he stole a boat and moved to waters off Vancouver Island. He sailed along the coast committing several robberies. On 04 March 1913 Wagner was robbing a store in Union Bay that was being staked out by 2 officers. Wagner shot at them and killed Constable Harry Westaway. The other officer, Constable Gordon Ross, managed to arrest him after a huge fight. Wagner, who was known to have killed many US police officers during arrest attempts, didn't believe it was a single officer who had subdued him in the dark.
Last Words: "I believe in a God above me who has pardoned my sins, in whom I put my trust. Dr Fifer wronged me, as I thought, as much as a man could. This, together with my own wicked thoughts, and the influence of bad advice urging me to the act, made me do the evil deed for which I stand here before you today. I can't tell you all I want, because something keeps streaming up to my head. If I had read my Bible now and again, I should not be standing here today. Let me advise you to do so. Gentlemen, I bid you farwell, one and all."
Notes: Wall claimed that Dr. Fifer had poisoned him. He visited the doctor at his office and shot him. He then made his escape by canoe which was manned by Mike Hager and two Natives. Wall initially pleaded guilty but the judge advised him to change his plea. In the end he was found guilty anyways and sentenced to death. Hager, who was paid $3 to be the getaway canoe paddler, claimed he didn't know that Wall was going to kill someone and received a 7 year sentence. His Native assistants received 1 year of hard labour.
ZZ (Two natives, Vancouver Island, 1864)
Notes: The executioner was a prisoner who wrote this letter: To His Excellency, Captain Kennedy, C.B. Governor of Vancouver Island and Dependencies I, John Williams humbly beg your excellency to grant me my pardon. I having hung two Indians sentenced to death this morning. The crime for which I am in prison was selling two bottles of whiskey to an Indian owing to my ignorance of the law. I having been in this country one week -- & your petitioner [three words undecipherable]. - John Williams . The governer responded with a pardon.