I’ve got an Executed Today entry today: John Holloway and Owen Haggerty, hanged in England in 1807. This is an absolutely dreadful story. First you’ve got a murder, and then two innocent young men, wrongfully convicted on the testimony of an alleged “accomplice” who got a really sweet deal for his testimony (a full pardon, plus a previous sentence respited). Then you’ve got a horrific stampede at the scaffold with numerous fatalities — almost as if God was expressing displeasure at the injustice going on.
I’ve got an Executed Today entry that was posted on the 16th: Robert Newcomb and John Mueller, hanged in 1906. Newcomb shot up the streets of Chicago and killed three people, including a cop; Mueller murdered his wife and two toddlers.
On the tenth I had another Executed Today entry run: Elifasi Msomi, a sangoma who killed fifteen people in South Africa in the mid-1950s. His was a literal devil-made-me-do-it defense: he claimed a tokoloshe, an evil spirit in Zulu folklore, offered to help his career if he obtained the blood of fifteen victims.
Of course to us nowadays (and to the Apartheid authorities back then) it’s stuff-and-nonsense, but in Msomi’s culture the tokoloshe was very real.
In other news, the headache medicine the pain management doctor prescribed is actually working. His idea was one that literally no other medical professional had thought to try in the storied six-year history of his headache, and I’m delighted by the results: it gets rid of the pain and, after the first few times, it didn’t make me feel the least bit different.
I had another Executed Today entry run yesterday: three men who were alleged to have participated in a riot and machine-breaking in Nottingham. I think this entry is a good example of how well Jason (owner of the blog, aka the Headsman) and I work together. I submitted an entry about the hangings, and then he added the information about the motivations for the riot and how dubious the evidence was against the three condemned, which made the entry much better.
Some other things: after two postponements, I finally saw the pain management doctor about my headaches. I was impressed with him, actually. He told me he had “no idea” what was causing my headaches and then he was like “because of your symptoms, I get the idea that Treatment X might work. Or it might not. We don’t know until we try. So I’ll write the prescription, and next time you get a headache try Treatment X.” I’m supposed to call the office to report the results. If it works, great. If it doesn’t, they’ll try something else. Frankly, it’s nice to hear a doctor admit he doesn’t know what the answers are.
Yesterday and today I spent some time in purging cases from Charley — notably from New Jersey. I went over the entire state and removed a bunch of outdated cases. I also got some additional information on some of them. Stephen Davaris, for example, was declared dead last May, a presumed suicide. His family has actually kept in touch with the people who found his bag washed up on a beach in Ireland. I was struck by this because I’ve actually been to the Cliffs of Moher, in January 2003, about two and a half years before Davaris is presumed to have leaped to his death.
I was going to update yesterday but in the evening the internet unexpectedly kicked it and didn’t come back on for ages. I should get something up today.
Yesterday I had my last Executed Today entry for the month (there were supposed to be four but the Headsman forgot to publish the one I wrote for the 18th). It’s John Johnson, who, together with another man, beat and gut-shot a Chicago cop for no apparent reason and was hanged in 1905. The victim lingered for four months before dying, and this in an age before modern medicine. Johnson’s partner-in-crime only got fourteen years.
This is actually the second time I’ve written about the execution of someone named John Johnson; this is the first one.
My second Executed Today entry is up: John Gregson, who died on this day in 1870, hanged in England for a brutal-but-banal domestic homicide. Had he committed the crime ten years earlier he might have gotten off with a manslaughter conviction, since he clearly did not intend to kill his wife. But by the late 1860s, British judges and juries were starting to get tired of these sorts of crimes, and he DID kick her repeatedly with iron-soled shoes after all.
I’m going to update today, finally, and resume updating regularly. This year hasn’t gotten off to a great start for me. The Headache has decided to resume kicking me around. Often the pain isn’t really that bad — sort of hovering in the “annoying” range — but it’s just that it. never. goes. away. and it really wears you down.
I had a frank and rather uncomfortable conversation with my family doctor, Dr. Han, about it all, and she basically said she did not think she was able to help me. Fortunately, there’s a new pain management clinic — been around less than a year — and she’s referred me to them. They’ll call me on Monday. At present I’m pain-free, but that’s only because of Vicodin.
On the other hand, mentally I’m doing much better. I had to have three medication adjustments between September and December. Finally I’m back on an even keel there.
You’ll recall that back in October I was interviewed by Ed Dentzel for the “Unfound” podcast. Well, I suggested that Ed interview Tad DiBiase, the “No Body” Guy. Ed did interview Tad and the interview is here. I recommend you check it out. Tad works gratis as a consultant for MWAB cases and I think that’s awesome, great community service. One of my personal mottoes is “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” Meaning: use whatever resources and talents you possess to improve that world. That’s what Tad does.
On the sixth I had my first Executed Today entry of the year: Floyd Hewitt, a sixteen-year-old who was executed for a horrific double homicide 90 years ago. It’s a very sad story; Floyd had the mental capacity of a ten-year-old and didn’t seem to understand the seriousness of what he had done. Nowadays, due to both his age and his mental disability, he would have gotten a life sentence.