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In the Media: The Last Hanging in New York State

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John Warren has just posted an article on his New York History blog about a new online exhibit by the New York Correction History Society. The exhibit chronicles the last execution to be carried out by hanging in the state of New York.

The hanging of John Greenwall for murder and burglary took place on December 6, 1889 at the Raymond Street Jail in Brooklyn. The online exhibit notes that the hanging of Alexander Jefferson at the same jail five years earlier in 1884–when Jefferson’s neck failed to break at the moment of his execution and resulted in his slow strangulation–prompted authorities to seek a more humane way to execute its capitally convicted criminals.

After Greenwall was executed by hanging, the electric chair became the execution method of choice in New York State.

Old Sparky from Sing-Sing prison
“Old Sparky” from Sing-Sing prison. Image via Wikipedia

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