Feb. 27, 1948
Note: This 2006 post is worth revisiting after last night’s botched execution of Clayton Lockett in Oklahoma.
Ray Parr’s story about Rich Owens, the longtime executioner at McAlester State Penitentiary, has been knocking around my home office for ages, passed along by a former co-worker many years ago. Writing for the Daily Oklahoman, Parr painted a long, vivid portrait of the man who killed 75 human beings: 65 by electrocution, one by the gallows, two with a knife, six with a gun and one with a shovel. And there could have been more: “I never count peckerwoods,” he said.
By 1948, Owens was bedridden and dying of cancer. Parr paid a final visit to the old executioner to see how he was facing his own death. The headline (incomplete in my copy) says:
Afraid of Death?
Now Rich Owens
Has the Answer