The Last Public Hanging in the United States by Today I Found Out   1 year ago


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By the time Rainey Bethea was executed on August 14, 1936, most of the United States had ceased executing people publicly. This was in large part because of the natural ghoulishness of the event, combined with the propensity for mistakes that make the whole thing even more disturbing to watch. (This is still a major problem today with approximately 7% of lethal injection executions being botched in the United States.) However, in Kentucky in 1936 an execution could still be held publicly and, according to the jury at his trial, Bethea deserved such an end.

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