Oklahoma

STATE EXECUTIONS NEWS ARTICLES

FRANK FORD
The First Legal Hanging – Frank Ford Paid The Penalty of Killing His Wife
Frederick, OK, June 13 – The first legal hanging in the new state occurred here in the county jail when Frank Ford, a negro, paid the death penalty for the murder of his wife on a farm a few miles west of here, June 16, 1907.
Sheriff Frank C. Carter of Tillman county, pulled the lever that sprung the trap and severed the rope when the negro was dead.
“I would not take a million dollars for the trip I am about to take.” Not a quiver of a muscle nor a change of expression marked the coolness with which Frank Ford stood upon the death scaffold.
Not a line of fear was in his face and he smiled as he spoke of his approaching doom.
“I have led a dissipated life,” said Ford. “But I am very sorry. If I had it to live again I would do better. If I had followed my mother’s advice I would have followed a different path. But my sins have been forgiven and I am ready to die. I blame no one for this. The killing of my wife was the result of an ungoverned temper.”
He rolled a cigarette and smoked it and before the black cap was adjusted asked for a mirror. He took a last look at himself, twirled the cigarette from his fingers and turning to Sheriff Carter, said: “I am ready.”
An instant later the trap was sprung and the murderer’s body fell to the end of the rope. This was at 6:26. At 6:45 life was pronounced extinct and the body was taken in charge by an undertaker and prepared for burial. (The Wichita Beacon, Saturday, June 13, 1908, page 2)
John Hopkins
In Sanity Plea for the Defense
Accused was Injured in Mine Explosion
But the Father of the Murdered Wife is Most Bitter and Denies the Mental Derangement.
Lawton, Okla., March 16 – There’s nothing whatever to this proposed plea of insanity in defense of John Hopkins for the murder of my daughter, stated Colonel I. B. Haworth, father of the murdered woman who has just arrived from his home in Mirabile, Missouri, in speaking of the approaching trial of Hopkins for the killing of his wife in this city on the evening of October 29 last.
It is true that he suffered injuries in a mine explosion, 1906, as he says but he has never had any attacks of mental derangement from it. Judging from his treatment of my daughter in Kingston, Missouri, where I was forced to have him placed in jail for assault, and from the evidence in the present case, I can place no other construction upon the killing than deliberate murder.
Witnesses from Missouri
Col. Haworth who is a prominent merchant of Mirabile, Missouri, has come to attend the trial of Hopkins which was set for Saturday, but which has now been postponed until Wednesday of this week. With him are W. O. Haworth, his son, a miller of Mirabile; Miss Josie Haworth, another daughter, Arnold and May Hopkins, son and daughter of John Hopkins, eleven and fifteen years of age. All of these will take the witness stand for the prosecution. Arnold has been living with his grandparents and the daughter, May, has been with Hopkin’s uncle, Jack Hopkins, of Lyons, Kansas to whom the letter was addressed which was found on Hopkins after the murder, which contains strong evidence for the prosecution and which reads; I have been treated meaner than I can stand. You will hear from or of me again soon – perhaps for the last time.
The defense expects to base its strength upon the testimony of physicians who attended Hopkins after the mine accident and others who examined him in the jail here after the murder during four days of which time he lay in a stupor. (The Wichita Bean, March 16, 1908, page 2)
Death Sentence for Hopkins
Oklahoma Man Murdered His Wife by Giving Her Poison
Lawton, OK., May 14 – After an all night consideration of the case the jury this morning found John Hopkins guilty of murder, and assessed the death penalty. The court overruled a motion for a new trial. The defense was insanity. Hopkins’ health is broken and he declares that he don’t care what punishment comes. He murdered his wife by pouring carbolic acid down her throat. (The Gazette Globe, Kansas City, Kansas, May 14, 1909, Friday, page 1)         
Protests His Innocence
John Hopkins Hung for Murder of Miss Lena Craig
Miami, Okla., Aug. 28 – John Hopkins was hanged today for the murder last January of Lena Craig, a school teacher. “I am an innocent man, cut the dog loose,” exclaimed Hopkins a moment before the trap was sprung.
Hopkins’ body was shipped to Seneca, Missouri for interment immediately after the hanging.  (The Daily Republican (Cherryvale, Kansas), August 28, 1908, Friday, page 1)            

HENRY PRATHER
Negro Electrocuted – Henry Prather Twice Convicted of Murder Pays the Penalty
McAlester, Okla., May 3 – Twice convicted of murder and sentenced to death, but relieve of paying the first penalty because Gov. Lee Cruce six years ago commuted the sentence to life imprisonment within a few minutes of the time he was to ascend the gallows, Henry Prather, a former Ardmore negro, went to death in the electric chair in the death chamber of the state penitentiary here shortly after midnight.
Prather paid the death penalty for the murder of his cellmate, Homer Chapman, alias Charlie Ross, at the state penitentiary June 27, 1917. He was serving a life term in the state prison for the murder of W. H. Archie in Oklahoma City, March 9, 1911.
In company with four other negroes, Bud Johnson, James Holmes, Charlie Posey and Elijah Turner, Prather held up and robbed Archie, who was an Oklahoma City plumber. The four who aided Prather were sentenced with him to death, but now are serving life terms at the penitentiary through the clemency of Governor Cruce.
It was brought out at the trial that after Archie had been robbed and left unconscious, Prather turned back, saying: “I’m going back and kill that skunk. I’ve been wanting to kill a white man for a long time.” Prather fired several shots into the prostrate form of Archie. (Daily Ardmoreite, Friday, May 3, 1918, page 8)

FRANK HENSON
Confesses Guilt – Frank Henson, on Scaffold, Says He was Murderer – Tulsa, Okla., March 31 – Frank Henson, after a five minutes’ speech on the scaffold in which he declared he was guilty, was hanged here today for the murder of Deputy Sheriff Charles Temper last October. (The Evening Herald, Ottawa, Kansas, Friday, March 31, 1911, front page)
Henson Hanged at Tulsa Today
For Murder of Deputy Sheriff in a Raid on Negro Gambling Den
Tulsa, Okla., March 31 – Frank Henson, a negro, was hanged today for the murder of Deputy Sheriff Stamper, who was killed in raiding a negro gambling den at Dawson October 9. This is the third legal hanging since statedhood. He was dead in three minutes.(The Atchison Daily Champion, Atchison, Kansas, Friday, March 31, 1911, page 1)

JOHN BLACK
Black Hangs Today – Will be Hanged by Same Rope That Swung Alf. Hunter Into Eternity
Holdenville, Okla., April 14 – Stoicalally indifferent to his fate, John Black, negro, awaits his hanging at 11 o’clock Friday morning for the  murder of J. B. Stevens at his home, two miles from here, November 8. While confined in the state penitentiary Black occupied the same cell with Alf Hunter, hanged April 8 for the murder of Sheriff Garrison of Oklahoma City. Black will be hung with the same rope that swung Hunter into eternity. (The Wichita Daily Eagle, Friday, April 15, 1910, page 1)

ELI THOMAS
Oklahoma Negro Pays Death Penalty Today
McAlester, Ok., July 15 – Eli Thomas, Negro, 21, was electrocuted in the state penitentiary early today.
He was convicted in Leflore County of killing an innocent youth at a Sunday School picnic.
Shortly before his death he issued a statement admitting his guilt, according to prison authorities.
He was placed in the electric chair at 12:20 a.m. Four minutes later physicians pronounced him dead. (The Wichita Beacon, Wichita, Kansas, Friday, July 15, 1921, page 16)

STEVE SABO
Sooner Miner Sent to Chair
Protesting His Innocence, Steve Sabo is Electrocuted Today at McAlester Penitentiary
McAlester, Okla., March 17 – Steve Sabo, Italian miner, today was executed in the electric chair at the state penitentiary here for the murder of his niece, Sofia Sabo, 17, whom he admitted stabbing to death following an attempted assault.
The crime was committed at the home of the girl’s parents near Coalgate. Three days later a Sheriff’s posse found Sabo huddled in the deep recess of an abandoned mine. He had broken his leg in a fall down a shaft of the mine and he was in a weakened condition. Sabo was removed to the county jail at Coalgate and his trial held about a month later.
Maintained His Innocence
Sabo was placed in the electric chair at 12:08. He was pronounced dead eleven minutes later.
Sabo protested his innocence as he was strapped in the death chair despite the fact that he had pleaded guilty to the murder charge in the Coal County court. “I tell God I am innocent,” he said brokenly. (The Winfield Daily Free Press, Winfield, Kansas, Friday, March 17, 1922, page 1)

SAM WATKINS
Confesses and Goes to Death Without Qualm
Sam Watkins Pays Penalty at McAlester for Killing Woman
McAlester, Ok., May 5 – Sam Watkins, confessed murderer of Mrs. Cora Jones of Caney, a neighbor, went boldly to the electric chair at 12:17 this morning and paid the extreme penalty for his crime.
He was pronounced dead three minutes after the electricity was turned on.
“I’m not afraid,” he said when being strapped to the chair at the prison.
“I will meet you all in heaven. God be with you.”
Watkins again confessed to his crime several hours before the execution. He told how he had beaten the wife of his neighbor to death with an iron pipe in the presence of her children and then threw her body to the hogs. (The Wichita Beacon, Wichita, Kansas, Friday, May 5, 1922, page 1)

CHARLEY YOUNG / CHESTER TAYLOR / WILLIE WILLIAMS
Electrocute 3 Negroes
Oklahoma Murderers Scheduled to Die Early This Morning
Oklahoma City, April 12 – Chester Taylor, Charles Yong and Willie Williams, negroes, will be electrocuted at the Oklahoma state prison at McAlester beginning at 5:15 o’clock tomorrow morning. The condemned men will follow each other to the chair as rapidly as possible. All were convicted on charges of first degree murder. (The Wichita Daily Eagle, Wichita, Kansas, Friday, April 13, 1917, page 1)

WILL JOHNSON
Scaffold Near Cell Window
Convicted Negro can View Structure From Which He Is to be Hung
Guthrie, Okla., Dec. 11 – Governor C. N. Haskell, who has twice issued a respite to Will Johnson, the negro that has been twice sentenced to hang for the murder of Mrs. Alexander Cuppy at Shawnee, will not interfere with the execution of Johnson today at Tecumsch unless the United States supreme court should grant a writ of error, which is improbable.
The scaffold from which Johnson will be hanged today is within view of the negro’s cell window. Johnson eats and sleeps well and is apparently free from worry. (Abilene Daily Chronicle, Abilene, Kansas, Friday, December 11, 1908, page 1)

K. B. BROOKS / CHARLES PERKINS
Two Hanged
The First in the History of the Federal Courts in the Territory
Muskogee, I. T., July 1 – Henry Whitefield, alias, Charles Perkins and K. B. Brooks (Colored) were hanged within the stockade of the United States jail here at 9:30 this morning. Whitefield was pronounced dead in three and half minutes, Brooks ten minutes after the trap was sprung.
Both died game. It was the first execution in the history of the federal courts in the Indian territory. (Arkansas City Daily Traveler, Arkansas City, Kansas, July 1, 1898, Friday, page 1)

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