Capital punishment in Washington state
Capital punishment is a legal form of punishment in the U.S. state of Washington. A total of 110 executions have been carried out in the state and its predecessor territories since 1849. All but the most recent three were by hanging. As of February 2015, the Washington State Department of Corrections lists nine men on death row.
The first hangings occurred on January 5, 1849, when Cussas and Quallahworst, two Native Americans, were hanged for murder. Executions are rarely carried out in the state — the most executions in one year was five in 1939, and there was an average of less than one hanging per year between 1849 and 1963.
The death penalty was abolished in 1914 and reinstated in 1919. The statute remained unchanged until 1975, when it was again abolished. A measure in 1978 reinstated it for a second time as the mandatory penalty for aggravated murder in the first degree. Supreme Court of the United States rulings in Woodson v. North Carolina, 428 U.S. 280 (1976) and Roberts v. Louisiana, 428 U.S. 325 (1976), 431 U.S. 633 (1977), meant that such a law was unconstitutional and the statute was modified to give detailed procedures for imposing the death penalty.
This new law was itself found unconstitutional by the Washington Supreme Court, as a person who had pled not guilty could be sentenced to death, while someone who pled guilty would receive a maximum sentence of life imprisonment without possibility of parole. The current law was passed in 1981 to correct these constitutional defects.
On February 11, 2014, Governor Jay Inslee announced a capital punishment moratorium. All death penalty cases that come to Inslee will result in him issuing a reprieve, not a pardon or commutation.
Death Row for males is located at Washington State Penitentiary at Walla Walla, which is also the site of executions. Females are housed at Washington Corrections Center for Women at Purdy near Gig Harbor while awaiting execution.
Since June 6, 1996, inmates have been able to choose if their execution will be carried out by lethal injection or hanging. If the inmate makes no decision, lethal injection is the standard method. It should also be noted that Washington is the only state with an active gallows (Delaware dismantled theirs in 2003).
According to the Revised Code of Washington § 10.95.180, executions in Washington:
- "…shall be inflicted by intravenous injection of a substance or substances in a lethal quantity sufficient to cause death and until the defendant is dead, or, at the election of the defendant, by hanging by the neck until the defendant is dead."
On September 10, 2010, Washington became the second state, after Ohio, to use a single dose injection of sodium thiopental as opposed to the typical three drug protocol used in most other jurisdictions. The single-drug protocol was used during the execution of Cal Brown.
The following are considered circumstances for aggravated first degree murder:
- Murder of an on-duty law enforcement officer, corrections officer, or firefighter
- Murder by a prisoner
- Contract killing
- Murder resulting from the discharge of a firearm from or near a motor vehicle
- Murder while committing robbery, rape, burglary, kidnapping, arson
- Murder of more than one person
- Murder of a news reporter to obstruct or hinder
- Murder of a person who held a restraining order against the assailant
- Murder of a person with whom the murderer had a "family or household members"
- Murder to obtain or maintain membership or to advance position in the hierarchy of an organization, association, gang or identifiable group
List of executions
Only five individuals have been executed by the state of Washington since the death penalty statute was reformed following the 1976 Supreme Court decisions.
|Name||Date of Execution||Method||Crime||Governor|
|Lum You||January 31, 1902||hanging||murder of Oscar Bloom||John Rankin Rogers|
|James Champoux||May 6, 1904||hanging||murder of Lottie Brace||Henry McBride|
|Charles Clarke||September 2, 1904||hanging||murder of Leila Page||Henry McBride|
|Henry Arao||June 3, 1905||hanging||murder of Sam Chong||Albert E. Mead|
|Frank Pasquale||September 15, 1905||hanging||murder of Charles F. Gray||Albert E. Mead|
|Angus McPhail||December 8, 1905||hanging||murder of Fred Alderson||Albert E. Mead|
|William White||March 2, 1906||hanging||murder of Matthew Murphy||Albert E. Mead|
|Simon Brooks||April 13, 1906 (WADOC lists date as May 13, 1906 while newspaper reports death as April 13)||hanging||murder of Adolph Miller||Albert E. Mead|
|A.A. Armstrong||June 8, 1906||hanging||murder of Robert Patton||Albert E. Mead|
|Fred Miller||March 22, 1907||hanging||murder of Fred Dierk||Albert E. Mead|
|Jose Nicolos (WADOC lists name as Joe Niculas)||April 16, 1909||hanging||murder of George Brown and unnamed four-year-old||Marion E. Hay|
|Joseph Gauvitte(WADOC lists name as Joseph Gauviette)||August 27, 1909||hanging||murder of Mrs. Joseph Gauvitte||Marion E. Hay|
|Bud Barnes(WADOC lists name as Hezekiah Barnes)||November 12, 1909||hanging||murder of Anna Aldrich||Marion E. Hay|
|Richard Quinn||May 13, 1910||hanging||murder of Mrs. Richard Quinn||Marion E. Hay|
|Frank Barker||June 20, 1910||hanging||murder of Ira Messinger||Marion E. Hay|
|William Frederick Jahns (WADOC lists name as Frederick William Johns)||June 20, 1910||hanging||murder of Agnes Jensen||Marion E. Hay|
|John Smith||April 1, 1921||hanging||murder of James O'Brien, Volney L. Stevens, and W.T. Angle||Louis Folwell Hart|
|James Mahoney||December 1, 1922||hanging||murder of Kate Mooers Mahoney||Louis Folwell Hart|
|George Whitfield||June 13, 1924||hanging||murder of Anna Nosko||Louis Folwell Hart|
|Ralph Waller||June 27, 1924||hanging||murder of Alfred Waldman and Ida Waldman||Louis Folwell Hart|
|Thomas Walton||December 12, 1924||hanging||murder of S.F. Burt||Louis Folwell Hart|
|L.E. Mosely (WADOC lists name as L.E. Mosley)||February 19, 1926||hanging||murder of A.J. Comer||Roland H. Hartley|
|Alfred Winters (WADOC also lists name as Albert Williams)||May 27, 1927||hanging||murder of A.J. Comer||Roland H. Hartley|
|Manuel Lopez||February 15, 1928||hanging||murder of Charles Markham||Roland H. Hartley|
|Emmett Bailey||August 10, 1928||hanging||murder of Erma Skinner||Roland H. Hartley|
|Wallace Gaines||August 31, 1928||hanging||murder of Sylvia Gaines||Roland H. Hartley|
|Luther Baker||March 29, 1929||hanging||murder of Lester Wood||Roland H. Hartley|
|Preston Rae Clark||July 11, 1930 (WADOC lists date of execution as July 30, 1930)||hanging||murder of A.L. Bidwell||Roland H. Hartley|
|Robert Lee Wilkins||August 15, 1930||hanging||murder of John W. Brooks||Roland H. Hartley|
|Arthur Schafer (WADOC lists name as Arthur Schaffer)||August 29, 1930||hanging||murder of Mr. and Mrs. Joe Kirk||Roland H. Hartley|
|Archie Frank Moock (WADOC lists name as Archie Frank Much)||September 12, 1930||hanging||murder of Catherine Clark||Roland H. Hartley|
|George Miller||December 18, 1931||hanging||murder of John Ivester||Roland H. Hartley|
|Harold Carpenter||April 15, 1932||hanging||murder of Peter Jacobson||Roland H. Hartley|
|Walter Dubuc||April 15, 1932||hanging||murder of Peter Jacobson||Roland H. Hartley|
|Ollie Lee Stratton||July 28, 1933||hanging||murder of William Frawley||Clarence D. Martin|
|Ted Bradley||May 11, 1934||hanging||murder of George Ikeda||Clarence D. Martin|
|Byron Miller||October 3, 1934||hanging||murder of Marshal George Warring||Clarence D. Martin|
|Hong Yick||July 19, 1935||hanging||murder of Lee Wing Qmen||Clarence D. Martin|
|Barney Fleming||April 3, 1936||hanging||murder of La Belle Butler||Clarence D. Martin|
|Glen R. Stringer (WADOC lists name as Glenn R. Stringer)||May 29, 1936||hanging||murder of Herbert Lee Caples||Clarence D. Martin|
|Leo Hall||September 11, 1936||hanging||murder of Frank Flieder, Anna Taylor Flieder, Clifford Taylor, Eugene Chenevert, Margaret Chenevert, Magnus Jorden, and Ezra Bolcom||Clarence D. Martin|
|Clifford Hawkins||February 23, 1938||hanging||murder of Ernest Grimm and Floyd Grimm||Clarence D. Martin|
|Claude H. Ryan||February 25, 1938||hanging||murder of S.R. Jackson||Clarence D. Martin|
|Stanley Knapp||August 5, 1938||hanging||murder of one unidentified victim||Clarence D. Martin|
|Joseph O'Donnell||November 21, 1938||hanging||murder of Trent A. Sickles and Theodore E. Stevens||Clarence D. Martin|
|Bernhard Leuch||August 4, 1939||hanging||murder of Lena Leuch||Clarence D. Martin|
|Paul Buttry||September 15, 1939||hanging||murder of Hugh Warren||Clarence D. Martin|
|Earl Talbott||September 18, 1939||hanging||murder of W.E. McKinney||Clarence D. Martin|
|Roy Wright||October 6, 1939||hanging||murder of John Dee Moore||Clarence D. Martin|
|Ralph Carson||December 8, 1939||hanging||murder of Lynwood Sproul||Clarence D. Martin|
|Edward L. Bouchard||September 6, 1940||hanging||murder of Cyril Ables and Ralph Allinson||Clarence D. Martin|
|Jack Marable||October 4, 1940||hanging||kidnapping and assault of Mrs. Emil Roloff||Clarence D. Martin|
|Arley Ovoyd Lewis||January 30, 1941||hanging||murder of Jack Avent||Arthur B. Langlie|
|Denzel David||March 24, 1941||hanging||murder of Harriet Arnold||Arthur B. Langlie|
|John Bruce Anderson||November 14, 1941||hanging||murder of David Johnson||Arthur B. Langlie|
|Chester Montgomery||March 19, 1943||hanging||murder of Jessie Sellers||Arthur B. Langlie|
|Roy Willard Jacobs||April 6, 1943||hanging||murder of Chadwick Storem and Harry Storem||Arthur B. Langlie|
|Persia Williams||September 8, 1944||hanging||murder of Joseph Romaglio||Arthur B. Langlie|
|Edward Heberling||December 8, 1944||hanging||murder of Harriet Louise Lindstrom||Arthur B. Langlie|
|Joe Bill||September 7, 1945||hanging||murder of Irma Irene McGough||Monrad C. Wallgren|
|Joseph B. Wessel||January 19, 1946||hanging||murder of Mary Ann Wessel ||Monrad C. Wallgren|
|Woodrow Wilson Clark||February 5, 1946||hanging||murder of T.P. Dillon and Jane Staples||Monrad C. Wallgren|
|John Henry Clark||January 7, 1947||hanging||murder of Sam Katz||Monrad C. Wallgren|
|Jake Bird||July 15, 1949||hanging||murder of Bertha Kludt and Beverly Kludt||Monrad C. Wallgren|
|Arthur Bruce Perkins||November 4, 1949||hanging||murder of Mr. L.E. Jessup and Mrs. L.E. Jessup||Monrad C. Wallgren|
|Wayne Leroy Williams||November 18, 1949||hanging||murder of Hallie Lucille||Monrad C. Wallgren|
|Wayne Odell (WADOC lists name as Wayne O'Dell)||June 18, 1951||hanging||murder of Harold Rogers||Arthur B. Langlie|
|Grant E. Rio||December 10, 1951||hanging||murder of Harold Rogers||Arthur B. Langlie|
|Utah E. Wilson||January 3, 1953||hanging||murder of JoAnn Dewey||Arthur B. Langlie|
|Truman G. Wilson||January 3, 1953||hanging||murder of JoAnn Dewey||Arthur B. Langlie|
|Artell Junior Farley||December 15, 1956||hanging||murder of Flora McFarland||Arthur B. Langlie|
|Harvey John Collins||December 3, 1957||hanging||murder of Andrew Stolen||Albert D. Rosellini|
|John Richard Broderson||June 25, 1960||hanging||murder of Harold Oster||Albert D. Rosellini|
|Joseph Chester Self||June 20, 1963||hanging||murder of Ralph A. Gemmill Jr.||Albert D. Rosellini|
|Westley Allan Dodd||January 5, 1993||hanging||murder of Cole Neer, William Neer, and Lee Iseli||Booth Gardner|
|Charles Rodman Campbell||May 27, 1994||hanging||murder of Renae Wicklund, Shannah Wicklund, and Barbara Hendrickson||Mike Lowry|
|Jeremy Vargas Sagastegui||October 13, 1998||lethal injection||murder of Kievan Sarbacher, Melissa Sarbacher, and Lisa Vera Acevado||Gary Locke|
|James Homer Elledge||August 28, 2001||lethal injection||murder of Eloise Jane Fitzner||Gary Locke|
|Cal Coburn Brown||September 10, 2010||lethal injection||murder of Holly Washa||Christine Gregoire|
The Washington State Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty is a 501(c)3 organization, incorporated in 1986. They oppose the death penalty on several moral and practical grounds, including its financial cost, low value as a deterrent, psychological cost to victim families and the alleged execution of innocent people in other states.
In 2004, the Washington State Bar Association's Council on Public Defense chartered a sub-committee to examine "the practical wisdom of continuing to pursue death penalty prosecutions in light of Washington's experience with sentence reversals, potential benefits to the criminal justice system from cost savings" and other matters. Made up of both opponents and advocates, the subcommittee issued its final report in December, 2006. Noting the extra costs associated with capital trials and great disparities in the current system, the report suggested that compensation for attorneys be increased, with all defense and prosecution costs to be paid by the state.
- Law of Washington
- List of death row inmates in Washington
- Capital punishment in the United States
- Chief Leschi
- List of wrongful convictions in the United States
- List of exonerated death row inmates
- "Offenders Currently Under Sentence of Death". Washington State: Department of Corrections. Retrieved February 16, 2015.
- Smith, Jaime (February 11, 2014). "Gov. Jay Inslee announces capital punishment moratorium" (Press release). Governor Inslee's Communications Office. Retrieved January 14, 2016.
- Sullivan, Jennifer; Garber, Andrew (February 11, 2014). "Inslee halts executions; impact on current cases may be minimal". The Seattle Times. Retrieved January 14, 2016.
- Lovett, Ian (February 11, 2014). "Executions Are Suspended by Governor in Washington". The New York Times. Retrieved January 14, 2016.
- RCW 10.95.180
- RCW 10.95.030
- Roper v. Simmons, 543 U.S. 551 (2005)
- Atkins v. Virginia, 536 U.S. 304 (2002)
- "Washington State carries out its first execution on May 6, 1904.". Washington State: HistoryLink. Retrieved February 28, 2014.
- "Ask for Rehearing". (May 4, 1904). The Seattle Times, pp. 2.
- "Pays His Penalty Bravely". (June 3, 1905). The Seattle Times, pp. 4.
- "Appeals Dismissed by Supreme Court". (May 26, 1905). The Seattle Times, pp. 4.
- "Fight Made for Man's Life". (July 19, 1905). The Seattle Times, pp. 3.
- "Mackintosh Says White Should Hang". (February 22, 1906). The Seattle Times, pp. 1.
- "Sentence of Death is Given Simon Brooks". (February 17, 1906). The Seattle Times, pp. 10.
- "Murderer Armstrong Sentenced to Hang". (April 16, 1906). The Seattle Times, pp. 2.
- "Fred Miller Hanged at State Penitentiary". (March 22, 1907). The Seattle Times, pp. 15.
- "Double Murderer Goes to his Doom". (April 16, 1909). The Seattle Times, pp. 8.
- "Wife Murderer Hanged". (August 27, 1909). The Seattle Times, pp. 25.
- "Murderer Forfeits Life on Gallows". (November 12, 1909). The Seattle Times, pp. 12.
- "Execution Bungled". (May 13, 1910). The Seattle Times, pp. 7.
- "Walks to Scaffold Laughing and Joking". (June 20, 1910). The Seattle Times, pp. 5.
- "Execution May Spoil Solution of Mystery". (April 13, 1911). The Seattle Times, pp. 10.
- "Captor of Slayer Honored by Mayor". (April 1, 1921). The Seattle Times, pp. 3.
- "Mahoney is Executed in Prison Yard for his Deed". (December 1, 1922). The Seattle Times, pp. 1.
- "Whitfield Hanged at State Penitentiary". (June 13, 1924). The Seattle Times, pp. 10.
- "Slayer Blames Divorce Evil on Way to Gallows". (June 27, 1924). The Seattle Times, pp. 5.
- "Thomas Walton Hanged at State Penitentiary". (December 12, 1924). The Seattle Times, pp. 24.
- "Seattle Slayer Pays Penalty on Gallows". (February 19, 1926). The Seattle Times, pp. 4.
- "Longview Slayer Hanged". (May 27, 1927). The Seattle Times, pp. 22.
- "Lopez Hanged at State Prison for Riparia Murder". (February 15, 1928). The Seattle Times, pp. 7.
- "Bailey is Hanged for Murder of Wife". (August 10, 1928). The Seattle Times, pp. 20.
- "Dawn Brings Message of Hanging". (August 31, 1928). The Seattle Times, pp. 1.
- "Luther is Hanged for Slaying of Clark Sheriff". (March 29, 1929). The Seattle Times, pp. 18.
- "Clark Goes to Gallows". (July 11, 1930). The Seattle Times, pp. 2.
- "Wilkins Dies for Slaying of Attorney". (August 15, 1930). The Seattle Times, pp. 2.
- "Shelton Logger is Hanged". (August 29, 1930). The Seattle Times, pp. 13.
- "Moock Hangs as Killer in Wedding Plot". (September 12, 1930). The Seattle Times, pp. 11.
- "Express Slayer Meets Death on State's Gallows". (December 18, 1931). The Seattle Times, pp. 21.
- "Man, Youth Pay Penalty on Gallows for Murder". (April 15, 1932). The Seattle Times, pp. 1.
- "Man, Youth Pay Penalty on Gallows for Murder". (April 15, 1932). The Seattle Times, pp. 1.
- "Ollie Stratton, Port Townsend Slayer, Hangs". (July 28, 1933). The Seattle Times, pp. 28.
- "Ready to Kill". (May 11, 1934). The Seattle Times, pp. 6.
- "Ready to Kill". (October 3, 1934). The Seattle Times, pp. 17.
- "Seattle Tong Slayer Hanged". (July 19, 1935). The Seattle Times, pp. 32.
- "Meyers Studies Hanging Case". (April 3, 1936). The Seattle Times, pp. 15.
- "Reward Posted for Asserted Slayer". (May 29, 1936). The Seattle Times, pp. 2.
- "Last Minute Fight Made to Prevent Execution". (September 11, 1936). The Seattle Times, pp. 1.
- "State Executes Skagit Slayer". (February 23, 1938). The Seattle Times, pp. 9.
- "Deputy's Killer to Hang". (January 14, 1938). The Seattle Times, pp. 5.
- "Killer Hanged; Warns Others". (August 5, 1938). The Seattle Times, pp. 5.
- "O'Donnell Blames Frame-Up as he Calmly Goes to Death". (November 21, 1938). The Seattle Times, pp. 1.
- "Shelton Slayer Dies on Gallows". (August 4, 1939). The Seattle Times, pp. 16.
- "Doomed Slayer Hopes". (September 14, 1939). The Seattle Times, pp. 13.
- "Ranch-Slayer is Hanged, Calm to End". (September 18, 1939). The Seattle Times, pp. 7.
- "Young Killer, on Gallows, Warns Youth Against Crime". (October 6, 1939). The Seattle Times, pp. 11.
- "Clallam County Slayer Hanged". (December 8, 1939). The Seattle Times, pp. 9.
- "Slayer Hanged at State Prison". (September 6, 1940). The Seattle Times, pp. 5.
- "Kidnapper Hangs, Denouncing Troy". (October 4, 1940). The Seattle Times, pp. 10.
- "Slayer to Give Life Tomorrow at Walla Walla". (January 29, 1941). The Seattle Times, pp. 17.
- "David Dies for Killing Mother". (March 24, 1941). The Seattle Times, pp. 24.
- "John B. Anderson, Slayer, Is Executed". (November 14, 1941). The Seattle Times, pp. 15.
- "Man Hanged for Woman's Death". (March 19, 1943). The Seattle Times, pp. 2.
- "Jacobs Denies Slaying as He Dies on Gallows". (April 6, 1943). The Seattle Times, pp. 4.
- "Seattle Slayer Dies on Gallows". (September 8, 1944). The Seattle Times, pp. 13.
- "Heberling Dies for Girl Murder". (December 8, 1944). The Seattle Times, pp. 21.
- "Joe Bill, Child's Slayer, Hanged". (September 7, 1945). The Seattle Times, pp. 18.
- "Wessel is Hanged at Pen". (1947, January 17). Union-Bulletin.
- "Hatchet Slayer Dies on Gallows". (February 5, 1946). The Seattle Times, pp. 3.
- "Slayer Dies on Prison Gallows". (January 7, 1947). The Seattle Times, pp. 20.
- "Final Appeal Failing, Jake Bird is Hanged". (July 15, 1949). The Seattle Times, pp. 11.
- "Perkins Dies on Prison Gallows". (November 4, 1949). The Seattle Times, pp. 9.
- "Williams, Wife Slayer, Hanged". (November 18, 1949). The Seattle Times, pp. 37.
- "Clemency Denied Condemned Youth". (June 14, 1951). The Seattle Times, pp. 14.
- "Slayer is Denied Stay of Execution". (December 10, 1951). The Seattle Times, pp. 2.
- "Langlie Refuses to Stop Execution of Wilsons, Due Tonight". (January 2, 1953). The Seattle Times, pp. 1.
- "Langlie Refuses to Stop Execution of Wilsons, Due Tonight". (January 2, 1953). The Seattle Times, pp. 1.
- "Farley, Tacoma Slayer, Hanged". (December 15, 1956). The Seattle Times, pp. 3.
- "Tacoma Slayer Hanged". (December 3, 1957). The Seattle Times, pp. 11.
- "Broderson Hanged at State Prison". (June 25, 1960). The Seattle Times, pp. 11.
- "Persons Executed Since 1904 In Washington State". Washington State: Department of Corrections. Retrieved February 28, 2014.
- Gov. Jay Inslee announces capital punishment moratorium, News Release, Office of Washington State Governor Jay Inslee. Accessed on 2014-02-11.
- Capital Punishment in Washington State. Washington State Department of Corrections. Retrieved on 2007-11-10.
- Offenders Currently under Sentence of Death Washington State Department of Corrections. Retrieved on 2012-08-12.
- Race and the Death Penalty. Death Penalty Information Center. Retrieved on 2007-11-10.
- State & County QuickFacts – Washington. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on 2007-11-10.
- Final Report on the Death Penalty Subcommittee of the Committee on Public Defense, Washington State Bar Association, December 2006. Retrieved 2010-06-19.
- The Truth About the Death Penalty, Washington Coalition To Abolish the Death Penalty web site. Accessed on 2010-06-19.
- Persons Executed since 1904