Capital punishment in Maine

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Maine is one of the 18[1] U.S. states without capital punishment.

Overview[edit]

Between 1644 and 1885, 21 people were executed in Maine. Ten of these executions were carried out before statehood (gained on March 15, 1820), and eleven after. Hanging was the only method of execution.

All but two executed people were males. The first person executed in Maine, sometime in 1644, was Mrs. Cornish. Also, 23-year old Native American Patience Sampson was hanged on July 31, 1735.

Sixteen of executed were white, two were Native American, and three were African American.

All but one of the death sentences actually carried out were imposed for murder. Only Jeremiah Baum, executed sometime in 1780, was put to death for treason.

A 40-year old escaped convict, Daniel Wilkinson, was the last person executed in Maine. He was hanged on November 21, 1885.

The death penalty in Maine was officially abolished in 1887 — just two years after Wilkinson's execution. Wilkinson slowly died of strangulation from a poorly tied hangman's noose, which was used as a reason by abolitionists to argue that the death penalty was inhumane.

Notes[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  • Edward Schriver, "Reluctant Hangman: The State of Maine and Capital Punishment, 1820-1887", New England Quarterly, vol. 63, no. 2 (June 1990) pp. 271–287

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