Dec. 2, 1938: California’s First Use of Gas Chamber Horrifies Witnesses; Hanging Is ‘Quicker and Better’

L.A. Times, 1938

L.A. Times, 1938
Note: This is an encore post from 2005 and originally appeared on the 1947project.


The Times editorialized:

Kessel and Cannon were two of five convicts who twisted a wire around the warden’s neck and dragged him into the prison yard, ordering him, on pain of death, to command the tower guards to throw down their rifles. Instead, Larkin shouted to the guards to pay no attention to him but to do their duty. As a result, the heroic warden was stabbed 12 times in the abdomen with knives made from rusty files. The time gained by his resistance was enough to muster the rest of the prison forces….

As against the 12 and 15 minutes Kessel and Cannon resisted death, Larkin lingered 108 hours. They were mercifully unconscious; their victim was conscious and in agony practically to the end. Their deaths were easy; his—from infected abdominal wounds—was horrible.

L.A. Times, 1938

L.A. Times, 1938

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in 1938, Crime and Courts, Homicide and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply. Note: Your IP is logged with your comment so a fake name and email address are useless.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.