Oklahoma’s Executioner: Rich Owens

Note: This is an encore post that originally appeared in 2006.

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


Feb. 27, 1948, Rich Owens

Feb. 27, 1948, Rich Owens


Feb. 27, 1948, Rich Owens
Feb. 27, 1948, Rich Owens




About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in 1948, Crime and Courts and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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