According to NBC News the state of Texas on Thursday executed a man convicted of killing his former girlfriend in 1994 by dousing her with gasoline and setting her on fire. His execution was the first this year in Texas, which leads the United States in executions. Minnesota does not have the death penalty, it has been abolished since 1911. The Death Penalty Information Center provides a wide range of facts, resources, articles, famous cases, and state-by-state information regarding this subject. The following is a list of famous Minnesota execution cases:
Ann Bilansky: One of the earliest recorded executions in Minnesota’s history was Bilanksy, who was convicted of murdering her husband by arsenic poisoning. Though even the prosecuting attorney in Bilansky’s case told Governor Alexander Ramsey the day before Bilansky’s execution that he had “grave and serious doubts as to whether the defendant had a fair trial,” the Governor refused to stay the execution. On March 23, 1860, Bilansky was executed by hanging. The execution took twenty minutes.
Mass Execution of the Dakota: On December 26, 1862, thirty-eight members of the Dakota tribe were executed by the federal government in the largest mass hanging in United States history. Though three hundred and three people were originally sentenced to death in rushed criminal trials that had, in some cases, lasted less than five minutes, President Lincoln stayed the execution of all but thirty-eight. Of those thirty-eight, some were later determined to be victims of mistaken identity.
William Williams: Williams was convicted of a controversial 1905 double murder of a mother and her 16-year-old son. Sentenced to death by hanging on February 13, 1906, Williams’ executioners failed to consider the stretch length of the rope. Newspapers of the day published the gruesome details of Williams’ feet hitting the ground, the frantic efforts of deputies to haul the rope upward, and the fourteen and one-half minutes it took for Williams to die by strangulation. Public interest in the botched execution set in motion a six-year movement to abolish the death penalty, culminating in Representative George MacKenzie’s impassioned introduction of the successful 1911 abolition bill in the Minnesota State House.