Marcel Chevalier

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Marcel Chevalier (28 February 1921 in Montrouge, Hauts-de-Seine – 8 October 2008 in Vendôme) worked as the last chief executioner (Monsieur de Paris) in France. He succeeded André Obrecht in 1976 and held his position until 1981, when capital punishment was abolished under president François Mitterrand and justice minister Robert Badinter. The method of application of the death penalty for civil capital offences in France from 1791 to 1981 was beheading with the guillotine. Military executions were by firing squad.

Chevalier, who started his executioner's career in 1958, performed about 40 executions. After his appointment as chief executioner, on 1 October 1976, he executed only two people. They were the last two executions in France :

  • Jérôme Carrein, condemned twice for the murder and rape of an 8-year-old girl, was guillotined on 23 June 1977 in Douai.
  • Hamida Djandoubi for having tortured and strangled his former girlfriend was guillotined on 10 September 1977 in Marseilles.

Chevalier worked as a printer subsequent to his retirement. He was married to Marcelle Obrecht, the niece of penultimate chief executioner of France, André Obrecht. They had two children, one of whom, Éric, was present at Carrein's and Djandoubi's executions in order to prepare him for succession to chief executioner upon his father's eventual retirement.

Chevalier was interviewed by the press on a number of occasions, but later, disillusioned by the sensationalist nature of press coverage, chose to say nothing of his experiences with the guillotine.

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Government offices
Preceded by
André Obrecht
Chief Executioner of the French Republic
1 October 1976 – 9 October 1981
Succeeded by
Capital punishment abolished