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Olga Hepnarová (30 June 1951 – 12 March 1975) was a Czech mass murderer, who in 1973 killed eight people with a truck. She was convicted and executed in 1975, the last woman executed in Czechoslovakia and one of the last by the use of short-drop hanging.
Olga Hepnarová was born in 1951 in Prague. Her father was a bank clerk and her mother was a dentist. She was an average child but later developed psychiatric problems. In 1964 Hepnarová attempted suicide by swallowing medication. She spent a year in a psychiatric ward in Opařany. Later she worked in various places but was usually fired shortly after being hired. Hepnarová ended up working as a truck driver.
On 10 July 1973, Hepnarová drove a truck into a group of about 25 people waiting for a tram in Prague 7. Three people died immediately, three more died later the same day and two in a few days (all aged from 60 to 79). Twelve people were injured. Before the attack, she had sent a letter to two newspapers (Svobodné slovo and Mladý svět) explaining her actions as revenge for the hatred she felt was directed against her by her family and the world. However, the letter was only received two days after the murder. She had reportedly been planning the revenge against society in her head for a long time.
"I am a loner. A destroyed woman. A woman destroyed by people... I have a choice - to kill myself or to kill others. I choose TO REVENGE MY HATERS. It would be too easy to leave this world as an unknown suicide. The society is too indifferent, rightly so. My verdict is: I, Olga Hepnarová, the victim of your bestiality, sentence you to death penalty"
During the investigation, Hepnarová confirmed her intention was to kill as many people as possible and she expressed no regret. Psychology experts found her fully aware of her actions. She planned her actions, as she considered a slope leading to the stop, which allowed her to gain speed for the maximum death toll. The collision was her second attempt, as she felt there were not enough people on her first run. On 6 April 1974, she was sentenced to death for murder by the City Court; the sentence was affirmed by higher instance courts and the Supreme Court re-qualified the sentence to public endangerment with the same punishment upheld. After several psychiatric examinations she was deemed criminally responsible for her actions. The Prime Minister Lubomír Štrougal refused to grant her a pardon. The execution took place on 12 March 1975 at Pankrác Prison, Prague. She was the last woman executed in Czechoslovakia.
According to the executioner,[who?] as recorded by writer Bohumil Hrabal, just before the execution Hepnarová collapsed and had to be dragged to the gallows. Her executioner, years later, admitted that he had to quit his job, as he felt she made his job "disgusting". (She fought, threw up and defecated herself prior to hanging.) The reliability of this tale is put in question by the author of the detailed website about Hepnarová, as no mention of such incidents was made in the official execution report.
- Roman Cílek, Oprátka za osm mrtvých (2001); ISBN 80-7179-285-3, a book about Hepnarová, contains a collection of contemporary documents. (Czech)