Capital punishment in Vermont
Capital punishment was abolished in the state of Vermont in 1972. The state last executed a prisoner in 1954, when Donald DeMag was put to death for a double robbery-murder he had committed after escaping while serving a life sentence for an earlier murder.
Although DeMag was the last person executed by Vermont, he was not the last person to be sentenced to death by a Vermont court. Lionel Goyet, a soldier who was Absent Without Leave for the fifth time, robbed and killed a farmhand, and was sentenced to death in 1957. His sentence was commuted six months later, and Goyet was conditionally pardoned in 1969. He had no further problems with the law, and died in 1980.
In 2005, Donald Fell was sentenced to death after being convicted of carjacking with death resulting and kidnapping with death resulting by a federal jury in Vermont. Fell's conviction was overturned in July 2014, owing to "egregious juror misconduct". Fell later pleaded guilty to avoid another sentencing hearing and was sentenced to life in prison without parole in September, 2018.
|Date capital punishment was legally abolished||1965|
|Legal methods of execution||1778–1919||hanging (21)|
|First legal execution||06-11-1778||hanging||David Redding||treason|
|Most recent legal execution||12-08-1954||electrocution||Donald DeMag||murder|
- "Vermont: Death Penalty Information Centre". Death Penalty Information Centre. 2016. Retrieved 10 November 2016.
- "Vermont Capital Punishment Law". FindLaw. 2016. Retrieved 10 November 2016.
- Associated Press, Newport Daily News, To Die in Chair, May 8, 1957
- North Adams Transcript, Goyet's Death Term Commuted to Life, November 4, 1957
- United Press International, Bennington Banner, Christmas Pardons for Three, December 16, 1969
- Wilson Ring, Associated Press, Boston Globe, 50 Years Later, Vt. Revisits Executions, May 1, 2005
- "Vermont Laws". legislature.vermont.gov.
- Pre-sentencing claims of psychiatric illness, toxicology issues, and matters relating to future dangerousness were initially raised and were subsequently addressed by expert forensic examination. Once pre-sentencing issues were resolved, Fell’s actions were found to meet the threshold as a capital eligible crime because the following aggravating factors applied: 1. Fell caused the death of King during the commission of the crime of kidnapping, §3592(c)(1); 2. Fell’s behavior was especially heinous, cruel or depraved in that it involved serious physical abuse to King, § 3592(c)(6); and 3. Fell intentionally killed or attempted to kill more than one person in a single criminal episode, § 3592(c)(16).
- "Judge orders new trial in Fell case". Burlington Free Press. 2014-07-24.
- Hearn, Daniel Allen, Legal Executions in New England: A comprehensive reference, 1623–1960 (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 1999).