List of individuals executed by the United States military

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The following is a list of individuals executed by the United States military.

Executions during World War II and postwar[edit]

The United States Army carried out 141 executions over a three-year period from 1942 to 1945, and a further six executions were conducted during the postwar period, for a known total of 147.

70 of these 141 wartime executions were carried out in the European Theatre, 27 in the Mediterranean Theatre, 21 in the Southwest Pacific Area, 19 in the continental United States, two in Hawaii, one in Guadalcanal and one in India; of the six postwar executions, one took place in Hawaii, one in Japan, two in France and two in the Philippines. An execution was also carried out by the United States Air Force in Japan in 1950.

All executions carried out by the Army during 1942 to 1948 were performed under the authority of the Articles of War of June 4, 1920, an Act of Congress which governed military justice between 1920 and 1948.

With the exception of Eddie Slovik, who was shot for desertion, all of these soldiers were executed for murder and/or rape. It should be noted that several of the soldiers listed as convicted and executed for murder and/or rape had also been convicted on other charges, including those of a military nature such as desertion and mutiny and plus lesser crimes that would not have been considered capital unless combined with more serious offenses which carried the death penalty. Sources for list in References section.

Executed person Date of execution Location Method
James Rowe 6 November 1942 Fort Huachuca, Arizona Hanging
Edward J. Leonski 9 November 1942 Pentridge Prison, Melbourne, Australia, Southwest Pacific Area Hanging
Jerry Sykes 19 January 1943 Fort Huachuca, Arizona Hanging
David Cobb 12 March 1943 Shepton Mallet, United Kingdom, European Theater Hanging
George S. Knapp 19 March 1943 Bastrop, Texas Hanging
Francis A. Line 26 March 1943 Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona Hanging
Harold A. Smith 25 June 1943 Shepton Mallet, United Kingdom, European Theater Hanging
James E. Kendrick 17 July 1943 Oran, Algeria, North African Theater of Operations ** Hanging
Levi Brandon 26 July 1943 Fort Leavenworth, Kansas Hanging
Walter J. Bohn 6 August 1943 Camp Claiborne, Louisiana, United States Hanging
Willie A. Pittman 30 August 1943 Sicily, Mediterranean Theatre of World War II ** Hanging
Harvey Stroud 30 August 1943 Sicily, Mediterranean Theatre of World War II ** Hanging
Armstead White 30 August 1943 Sicily, Mediterranean Theatre of World War II ** Hanging
David White 30 August 1943 Sicily, Mediterranean Theatre of World War II ** Hanging
Charles H. Smith 6 September 1943 Algiers, North African Theater of Operations ** Hanging
Lee A. Davis 14 December 1943 Shepton Mallet, United Kingdom, European Theater ** Hanging
Edwin P. Jones 5 January 1944 Oran, Algeria, North African Theater of Operations Hanging
John H. Waters 10 February 1944 Shepton Mallet, United Kingdom, European Theater ** Hanging
J.C. Leatherberry 16 March 1944 Shepton Mallet, United Kingdom, European Theater ** Hanging
Charles A. Spears 18 April 1944 Italy, Mediterranean Theatre of World War II ** Hanging
Wiley Harris, Jr. 26 May 1944 Shepton Mallet, United Kingdom, European Theater ** Hanging
Alex F. Miranda 30 May 1944 Shepton Mallet, United Kingdom, European Theater **E Firing squad
Robert L. Donnelly 31 May 1944 Italy, Mediterranean Theatre of World War II ** Hanging
Eliga Brinson 11 August 1944 Shepton Mallet, United Kingdom, European Theater ** Hanging
Willie Smith 11 August 1944 Shepton Mallet, United Kingdom, European Theater ** Hanging
Clarence Whitfield 14 August 1944 Normandy, France, European Theater ** Hanging
Ray Watson 29 August 1944 Italy. Mediterranean Theatre of World War II ** Hanging
James W. Peoples 2 September 1944 Oro Bay, New Guinea, Southwest Pacific Area Hanging
Harry Bever 26 September 1944 Fort Sill, Oklahoma Hanging
Arthur T. Brown 2 October 1944 Oro Bay, New Guinea, Southwest Pacific Area Hanging
Andrew Gibson 2 October 1944 Oro Bay, New Guinea, Southwest Pacific Area Hanging
Leroy E. Greene 2 October 1944 Oro Bay, New Guinea, Southwest Pacific Area Hanging
Charles A. Horne 2 October 1944 Oro Bay, New Guinea, Southwest Pacific Area Hanging
Eugene A. Washington, Jr. 2 October 1944 Oro Bay, New Guinea, Southwest Pacific Area Hanging
Lloyd L. White, Jr. 2 October 1944 Oro Bay, New Guinea, Southwest Pacific Area Hanging
Madison Thomas 12 October 1944 Shepton Mallet, United Kingdom, European Theater ** Hanging
James B. Sanders 25 October 1944 European Theater ** Hanging
Ray W. Anderson 25 October 1944 European Theater ** Hanging
Paul Kluxdal 31 October 1944 European Theater ** Hanging
Willie Wimberly, Jr. 9 November 1944 European Theater ** Hanging
Joseph Watson 9 November 1944 European Theater ** Hanging
Aveline Fernandez 15 November 1944 Oro Bay, New Guinea, Southwest Pacific Area Hanging
Curtis L. Maxey 16 November 1944 Aversa, Italy, Mediterranean Theatre of World War II ** Hanging
Richard Scott 18 November 1944 European Theater ** Hanging
William D. Pennyfather 18 November 1944 European Theater ** Hanging
Theron McGann 20 November 1944 European Theater Hanging
Arthur E. Davis 22 November 1944 European Theater ** Hanging
Charles H. Jordan 22 November 1944 European Theater ** Hanging
James E. Hendricks 24 November 1944 Normandy, France, European Theater ** Hanging
Benjamin Pygate 28 November 1944 Shepton Mallet, United Kingdom, European Theater ** Firing squad
Oscar N. Newman 29 November 1944 European Theater ** Hanging
Leo Valentine, Sr. 29 November 1944 European Theater ** Hanging
Charles Williams 18 December 1944 United States Hanging
William E. Davis 27 December 1944 European Theater ** Hanging
Waiter J. Baldwin 17 January 1945 European Theater ** Hanging
Sylvester Davis 5 January 1945 Randolph Air Force Base, Texas Hanging
Augustine Guerra 8 January 1945 Shepton Mallet, United Kingdom, European Theater ** Hanging
Ernest L. Clark 8 January 1945 Shepton Mallet, United Kingdom, European Theater ** Hanging
John. D. Cooper 9 January 1945 European Theater ** Hanging
John R. O'Connor 15 January 1945 Fort Benning, Georgia Hanging
Arthur J. Farrell 19 January 1945 European Theater ** Hanging
James W. Twiggs 22 January 1945 European Theater ** Hanging
Samuel Hawthorne 29 January 1945 Oro Bay, New Guinea, Southwest Pacific Area Hanging
Marvin Holden 30 January 1945 Lemur, Belgium ** Hanging
Elwood J. Spencer 30 January 1945 Lemur, Belgium ** Hanging
Eddie Slovik 31 January 1945 Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines, France, European Theater **E Firing squad
J.P. Wilson 2 February 1945 European Theater ** Hanging
Robert L. Skinner 10 February 1945 European Theater ** Hanging
Yancy Waiters 10 February 1945 European Theater ** Hanging
William Mack 15 February 1945 European Theater ** Hanging
Otis B. Crews 21 February 1945 Mediterranean Theater ** Hanging
Williams C. Downes 28 February 1945 European Theater ** Hanging
Amos Agee 3 March 1945 European Theater ** Hanging
John C. Smith 3 March 1945 European Theater ** Hanging
Frank Watson 3 March 1945 European Theater ** Hanging
Olins W. Williams 9 March 1945 European Theater ** Hanging
Lee A. Burns 11 March 1945 Aversa, Italy, Mediterranean Theatre of World War II ** Hanging
General L. Grant 11 March 1945 Italy, Mediterranean Theatre of World War II ** Hanging
Herman Perry 15 March 1945 Ledo, Assam, India Hanging
Robert L. Pearson 17 March 1945 Shepton Mallet, United Kingdom, European Theater ** Hanging
Cubia (Parson) Jones 17 March 1945 Shepton Mallet, United Kingdom, European Theater ** Hanging
Henry Baker 18 March 1945 Philippines Hanging
John M. Mack 20 March 1945 Italy, Mediterranean Theatre of World War II ** Hanging
John W. Taylor 20 March 1945 Italy, Mediterranean Theatre of World War II ** Hanging
Kinney Jones 20 March 1945 Italy, Mediterranean Theatre of World War II ** Hanging
Robert A. Pearson 20 March 1945 Guadalcanal Hanging
Abraham Smalls 27 March 1945 Mediterranean Theatre of World War II ** Hanging
Tommie Davison 29 March 1945 European Theater ** Hanging
William Harrison, Jr. 7 April 1945 Shepton Mallet, United Kingdom, European Theater ** Hanging
Curn Jones 10 April 1945 Fort Benning, Georgia Hanging
Benjamin F. Hopper 11 April 1945 European Theater ** Hanging
Dan Boswell 16 April 1945 Camp Bowie, Texas Hanging
James L. Jones 19 April 1945 European Theater ** Hanging
Mileert Bailey 19 April 1945 European Theater ** Hanging
John Williams 19 April 1945 European Theater ** Hanging
William T. Curry 20 April 1945 Oro Bay, New Guinea, Southwest Pacific Area Hanging
Shelton McGhee, Sr. 4 May 1945 Mediterranean Theatre of World War II ** Hanging
George E. Smith, Jr. 8 May 1945 Shepton Mallet, United Kingdom, European Theater ** Hanging
George Green, Jr. 15 May 1945 European Theater ** Hanging
Haze Heard 21 May 1945 European Theater ** Hanging
William McCarter 28 May 1945 European Theater ** Hanging
Clete O. Norris 31 May 1945 European Theater ** Hanging
Alvery R. Rollins 31 May 1945 European Theater ** Hanging
Matthew Clay, Jr. 4 June 1945 European Theater ** Hanging
Werner E. Schmiedel 11 June 1945 Mediterranean Theatre of World War II ** Hanging
Ancieto Martinez 15 June 1945 Shepton Mallet, United Kingdom, European Theater ** Hanging
Victor Ortiz * 21 June 1945 European Theatre Hanging
Willie Johnson 26 June 1945 European Theater ** Hanging
Fred A. McMurray 2 July 1945 Italy, Mediterranean Theatre of World War II ** Hanging
Louis Till 2 July 1945 Italy, Mediterranean Theatre of World War II ** Hanging
Charles H. Jefferies 5 July 1945 Italy, Mediterranean Theatre of World War II ** Hanging
John T. Jones 5 July 1945 Italy, Mediterranean Theatre of World War II ** Hanging
Henry W. Nelson 5 July 1945 Italy, Mediterranean Theatre of World War II ** Hanging
Tom E. Gordon 10 July 1945 European Theater ** Hanging
Harold Crabtree 31 July 1945 Philippines Firing squad
Cornelius Thomas 1 August 1945 Schofield Barracks, Hawai'i Hanging
Jesse D. Boston 1 August 1945 Schofield Barracks, Hawai'i Firing squad
Robert Davidson 6 August 1945 Green Haven Correctional Facility, New York Firing squad
Ernest J. Harris 9 August 1945 Philippines Hanging
Lee R. Davis 14 August 1945 Fort Sill, Oklahoma Hanging
Herbert W. Reid 14 August 1945 Camp Beale, California Hanging
Clinton Stevenson 14 August 1945 Camp Beale, California Hanging
Ellis McCloud, Jr. 20 August 1945 Philippines Hanging
Robert Wray 20 August 1945 European Theater ** Hanging
Edward J. Reichl 22 August 1945 United States Disciplinary Barracks, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas Hanging
Harvey W. Nichols 28 August 1945 Philippines Hanging
Albert Williams 28 August 1945 Philippines Hanging
Bradley Walters, Jr. 31 August 1945 Philippines Hanging
Henry C. Philpot 10 September 1945 European Theater ** Hanging
Fred Hurse 20 September 1945 United States Hanging
Clarence Gibson 24 September 1945 United States Firing squad
James C.Thomas 25 September 1945 Philippines Hanging
Charles M. Robinson 28 September 1945 European Theater ** Hanging
Blake W. Mariano 10 October 1945 European Theater ** Hanging
Sidney Bennerman 15 October 1945 European Theater ** Firing squad
Woodrow Parker 15 October 1945 European Theater ** Firing squad
Ozell Louis 15 October 1945 Philippines Hanging
Charlie Ervin, Jr. 19 October 1945 Italy, Mediterranean Theatre of World War II ** Firing squad
Mansfield Spinks 19 October 1945 Italy, Mediterranean Theatre of World War II ** Firing squad
Dan J. Lee 9 November 1945 Philippines Firing squad
Ellsworth Williams 5 January 1946 Germany, European Theater ** Hanging
Solomon Thompson 11 September 1946 European Theater Hanging
Garlon Mickles 22 April 1947 Schofield Barracks, Hawai'i Hanging
James Norman 25 April 1947 Philippines Hanging
William Abney 1 December 1947 Mandaluyong, Philippines Hanging
Manuel Martinez 23 April 1948 European Theater Hanging
Stratman Armistead 16 December 1948 Nakano, Japan, Far East Command Hanging

Plot E[edit]

The US Army executed several servicemen following General Courts Martial (GCM) for murder or rape, or both crimes, in the European Theatre of Operations during the Second World War. The remains of these servicemen were originally buried near the site of their executions, which took place in countries as far apart as England, France, Belgium, Germany, Italy and Algeria. In 1949 the remains of these men and a few others were re-interred in Plot E, a private section specifically built to hold what the Graves Registration referred to as "the dishonorable dead", since (per standard practice) all had been Dishonorably Discharged from the US Army just prior to their executions.

Plot "E" is detached from the main four cemetery plots for the honored dead of World War I at the Oise-Aisne American Cemetery and Memorial.[1] It is located across the road and deliberately hidden from view, inside a 100 x 50 feet oval-shaped clearing surrounded by hedges and hidden in thick forest. Officially, Plot E does not exist: it is not mentioned on the ABMC website or in any guide pamphlets or maps. The plot is accessible only through the back door of the superintendent's office.[2] Access is difficult and visitors are not encouraged, though the section is maintained by cemetery caretakers who periodically mow the lawn area and trim the hedges. One cemetery employee described Plot E as "a house of shame" and "a perfect anti-memorial".[3] Today, Plot E contains nothing but 96 flat stone markers (arranged in four rows) and a single small granite cross. The white grave markers are the size of index cards and have nothing on them except sequential grave numbers engraved in black. Two remains were later disinterred and allowed to return to United States.

No US flag is permitted to fly over the section, and the numbered graves literally lie with their backs turned to the main cemetery on the other side of the road.[4] Very few of the individuals buried in Plot E had not been convicted of rape or murder. Willie Hall, Joseph J. Mahoney and William N. Lucas are three other non-murders buried in Plot E. One deserter was Eddie Slovik, who was executed for desertion on 31 January 1945. In 1987 President Ronald Reagan gave permission for Slovik's remains to be exhumed and returned to the United States for reburial.[5][6] Alex F. Miranda was exhumed and his remains were returned to the United States in 1990.[7]

Executions of German POWs during World War II[edit]

In 1945, the United States Army executed fourteen German prisoners of war by hanging at the United States Disciplinary Barracks, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. These POWs, members of the German Armed services, had been convicted by general court-martial for the murders of fellow Germans believed by their fellow inmates to be collaborating as confidential informants with the United States military authorities. These hangings at the United States Disciplinary Barracks were carried out in a warehouse elevator shaft which had been converted into a temporary gallows. The fourteen Germans were subsequently buried in the Fort Leavenworth Military Prison Cemetery.[8]

Executed person Age Date of Execution Name of victim
Walter Beyer 32 10 July 1945 Johannes Kunze
Hans Demme 23 10 July 1945 Johannes Kunze
Hans Schomer 27 10 July 1945 Johannes Kunze
Willie Scholz 22 10 July 1945 Johannes Kunze
Berthold Seidel 30 10 July 1945 Johannes Kunze
Erich Gauss 14 July 1945 Horst Günther
Rudolph Straub 14 July 1945 Horst Günther
Helmut Fischer 25 August 1945 Werner Drechsler
Fritz Franke 25 August 1945 Werner Drechsler
Guenther Kuelsen 25 August 1945 Werner Drechsler
Heinrich Ludwig 25 August 1945 Werner Drechsler
Bernard Reyak 25 August 1945 Werner Drechsler
Otto Stengel 25 August 1945 Werner Drechsler
Rolf Wizuy 25 August 1945 Werner Drechsler

Executions by the United States Air Force[edit]

The United States Air Force has executed a total of three airmen by hanging between 1950 and 1954. The first execution, that of Robert E. Keller, was conducted under the authority of the 1920 Articles of War; those of Burns and Dennis, Jr. were carried out under a short-lived revised version of the Articles of War popularly known as the Elston Act of 1948.

Executed person Date of execution Location Crime
Robert E. Keller 11 March 1950 Nakano, Japan First Degree Murder
Robert W. Burns 28 January 1954 Guam First Degree Murder and First Degree Rape
Herman P. Dennis, Jr. 28 January 1954 Guam First Degree Murder and First Degree Rape

Executions under the Uniform Code of Military Justice[edit]

A total of ten military executions have been carried out by the United States Army under the provisions of the original Uniform Code of Military Justice of 5 May 1950. The first four of these executions, those of Bernard J. O'Brien, Chastine Beverly, Louis M. Suttles and James L. Riggins, were carried out by military officials at the Kansas State Penitentiary near Lansing, Kansas. The remaining six executions took place in the boiler room of the United States Disciplinary Barracks, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Hanging was the method employed in these ten executions.

Executed person Date of sentencing Date of execution Crime
Bernard J. O'Brien 19 June 1952 31 July 1954 First Degree Murder
Chastine Beverly 10 October 1951 1 March 1955 Robbery, First Degree Murder
Louis M. Suttles 10 October 1951 1 March 1955 Robbery, First Degree Murder
James L. Riggins 10 October 1951 1 March 1955 Robbery, First Degree Murder
Thomas J. Edwards 1 April 1953 14 February 1957 First Degree Murder
Winfred D. Moore 19 August 1953 14 February 1957 First Degree Murder, Assault with intent to commit Robbery
Ernest L. Ranson 5 June 1953 3 April 1957 Lifting weapon against superior officer, First Degree murder, First Degree Rape, Robbery, 2 counts of Assault with dangerous weapon
Abraham Thomas 15 April 1954 23 July 1958 Four counts First Degree Murder
John E. Day, Jr. 1 October 1951 23 September 1959 First Degree Murder, Aggravated Assault with attempt to do bodily harm with dangerous weapon, Assault
John A. Bennett 8 February 1955 13 April 1961 First Degree Child Rape, First Degree Attempted Murder

Individuals currently awaiting execution under the UCMJ[edit]

Five individuals are currently awaiting execution under the UCMJ. All executions, if carried out, will be by lethal injection.

Sentenced person Date of sentencing Crime
Ronald A. Gray 12 April 1988 Two specifications of both Rape (U.C.M.J. Article 120) and Premeditated Murder (U.C.M.J. Article 118(1))
Hasan Karim Akbar 28 April 2005 Two specifications of Premeditated Murder (U.C.M.J. Article 118(1))
Andrew P. Witt 13 October 2005 Two specifications of Premeditated Murder (U.C.M.J. Article 118(1))
Timothy B. Hennis 15 April 2010 Three specifications of Premeditated Murder (U.C.M.J. Article 118(1)), one specification of Rape (U.C.M.J. Article 120)
Nidal Malik Hasan 28 August 2013 Thirteen specifications of Premeditated Murder (U.C.M.J. Article 120(1)

Executions by the United States Navy[edit]

The United States Navy has executed approximately seventeen sailors and Marines for various offenses, of which the most famous were several crew members of the USS Somers who were summarily hanged for allegedly conspiring to mutiny. No member of the Navy has been executed since 1849. The United States Navy also executed fourteen Japanese nationals by hanging on charges of war crimes on Guam after the Second World War.

Sources[edit]

Information on listed military executions between 1942–1961 has been primarily derived from the following sources. Research on these executions continues.

  1. A handwritten list, Executed Death Cases Before 1951, discovered at The Pentagon in December 2003. The list is only partially legible and must therefore be used with some caution. The linked public version of this list is quite truncated, thereby omitting a great deal of useful information about these cases. The supplemental addendum, Death Sentence Ledger, tracks military capital cases between 1950–1967.
  2. Two tables of U.S. Soldiers executed during World War II's European Theater and Pacific Theater may be found on Before the Needle
  3. The U.S. Rosters of World War II Dead, 1939–1945 (payment required) contains the names of many American servicemen executed by military authority overseas. These individuals are generally identified in the Rosters as GP (or General Prisoners) and were interred under the category of Administrative Decision.
  4. The Nationwide Gravesite Locator contains the names of numerous executed soldiers, many of them listed as being General Prisoners.
  5. The U.S. Veterans Gravesites, ca.1775–2006 (payment required) contains the names of numerous executed soldiers, many of them listed as being General Prisoners.
  6. Historical archives of the Stars and Stripes Newspaper, WWII Europe and North Africa Editions, 1942–1958 (payment required) contain numerous contemporary references to military executions.
  7. Death Penalty Cases in WWII Military Courts: Lessons Learned from North Africa and Italy, a paper written by Professor J. Robert Lilly of the School of Law, Northern Kentucky University, and Associate Professor J. Michael Thomson of the Political Science Department Northern Kentucky University, and presented at the 41st Annual Meeting of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences March 10–13, 2004. Las Vegas, NV, contains statistical information on 97 executions carried out in the European Theatre and the Mediterranean Theatre of World War II. It does not appear to be available online at this time.
  8. Taken by Force, by J. Robert Lilly, (ISBN 0-230-50647-X) published by Palgrave Macmillian in August, 2007, discusses crimes of sexual violence committed by American soldiers in the Second World War. It contains numerous references to military capital cases during this period.
  9. Official File, Court Martial Cases, Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, contains information on sentence confirmation dates of soldiers executed for capital crimes within the continental United States between 1942–1945.
  10. Official File, Court Martial Cases, Harry Truman Museum and Library, contains information on sentence confirmation dates of soldiers and members of the Air Force executed between 1945–1954.
  11. History of the JAG Branch Office, U.S. Forces, European Theater, 18 July 1942 to 1 Nov. 1945: n.a., Vol. 1–2, prep. by the Branch Office of the JAG-ETO, n.p ., n.d. (1946?), contains a summary on 70 military executions carried out in the European theater between 1943–1945.
  12. Ted Darcy Casualty Database
  13. Subchapter X, "Punitive Articles" of the Uniform Code of Military Justice

References[edit]

  1. ^ American Battle Monuments Commission: Oise-Aisne American Cemetery Official Website, As of June 22, 2009
  2. ^ "Bing Maps – Driving Directions, Traffic and Road Conditions". Binged.it. 2015-03-04. Retrieved 2015-04-24. 
  3. ^ Kaplan, Alice. The Interpreter. Free Press: New York, 2005. 172–3.
  4. ^ Huie, William Bradford.The Execution of Private Slovik. Westholme: Yardley, 1954. 4–7.
  5. ^ Pvt Eddie Slovik – Original name: Edward Donald Slovik at Find a Grave
  6. ^ Huie, William Bradford. "The Execution of Private Slovik". Westholme Publishing, 2004. ISBN 1-59416-003-1
  7. ^ "Alex F. Miranda (1923–1944) – Find A Grave Memorial". Findagrave.com. Retrieved 2015-04-24. 
  8. ^ Fort Leavenworth Military Prison cemetery