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On May 27, 1957, Ruby Miller was killed with the claw-end of a hammer in Huntington, West Virginia during a burglary of her home. Brunner was arrested and charged with first degree murder. Brunner was convicted in July 1957 and was sentenced to death by electric chair.
Brunner's case was appealed twice to the Supreme Court of West Virginia and once to the United States Supreme Court, but all of his appeals were rejected. He was executed on April 3, 1959, by electrocution in "Old Sparky", the electric chair in the West Virginia State Penitentiary escorted by police officer John Kapp to Moundsville, West Virginia.
West Virginia abolished the death penalty in 1965. No one has been executed by West Virginia since Brunner's death.
- Stan Bumgardner and Christine Kreiser, "'Thy Brother's Blood': Capital Punishment in West Virginia", West Virginia Historical Society Quarterly, vol. 9, no. 4 (Mar. 1996)
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