James French (murderer)

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For other people named James French, see James French (disambiguation).

James D. French (ca. 1936 – 10 August 1966) was an American criminal who was the last person executed under Oklahoma's death penalty laws prior to Furman v. Georgia, which suspended capital punishment in the United States from 1972 until 1976. He was also the only prisoner executed in the United States that year.[1] Already in prison for life, but allegedly afraid to commit suicide, French murdered his cellmate, apparently to compel the state to execute him.[2]

French has been attributed with famous last words before his death by electric chair: "How's this for your headline? 'French Fries'".[3]

This was the last execution by electric chair in the United States before Furman v. Georgia; after the moratorium on capital punishment was lifted, the first electrocution was John Spenkelink in 1979 in Florida.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Staff report. (Feb. 17, 1967) The Dying Death Penalty. Time
  2. ^ van Wormer, Katherine (12/8/1995). Execution-inspired murder a form of suicide? Journal of Offender Rehabilitation Volume: 22 Issue: 3/4
  3. ^ Tibballs, Geoff (2004). The Mammoth Book of Zingers, Quips, and One-Liners. Carroll & Graf. ISBN 978-0-7867-1407-0

External links[edit]