Capital punishment in Vermont

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The death penalty was a legal form of punishment in Vermont until 1972.[1][2] Vermont last executed a prisoner in 1954. However, Vermont statutes still state that the punishment for treason is death.[3]

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.[4] Theoretically, following federal law, Donald Fell would have been executed by electrocution as provided by Vermont Penal Code. Fell's conviction was overturned in July 2014 due to "egregious juror misconduct"[5] and he will be retried in 2017.[6]


Vermont capital punishment summary
Total number of executions: 26 (25 as a state)
Date Method Name Offense
Date capital punishment was legally abolished 1965
Legal methods of execution 1778–1919 hanging (21)
1919–1972 electric chair (5)
First legal execution 06-11-1778 hanging David Redding treason
Most recent legal execution 12-08-1954 electric chair Donald DeMag murder

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Vermont: Death Penalty Information Centre". Death Penalty Information Centre. 2016. Retrieved 10 November 2016. 
  2. ^ "Vermont Capital Punishment Law". FindLaw. 2016. Retrieved 10 November 2016. 
  3. ^ Vermont Laws
  4. ^ 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).
  5. ^ Judge orders new trial in Fell case
  6. ^ News | Death Penalty Information Center


  • Hearn, Daniel Allen, Legal Executions in New England: A comprehensive reference, 1623–1960 (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 1999).