Friday, January 11, 2008

January 11

On this date 51 years ago, the state of Colorado asphyxiated John Gilbert Graham with hydrogen cyanide gas. The execution occurred a little more than a year after the death of his mother in a horrific explosion over the sugar beet fields of northern Colorado. Daisie King and 43 others died on November 1, 1955, in the wreckage of United Air Flight 629, which was obliterated by a bomb. As it happened, Graham himself had placed the device in his mother’s suitcase.

Though investigators, the press and prosecutors assumed Graham’s motive was financial -- he stood to collect a large insurance settlement and inhereit a substantial commercial estate -- it turned out that Jack Gilbert Graham simply hated his mother. The bomb itself was gift-wrapped for the upcoming Christmas holiday.

Just before he entered the gas chamber on January 11, 1957, Gilbert offered a few words to the warden, Harry Tinsley. “As far as feeling remorse for those people,” he explained, “I don't. I can't help it. Everybody pays their way and they take their chances. That's just the way it goes.”