Botched Execution Attempt of Wallace Wilkerson – 1877 That Went Horribly Wrong

Botched Execution Attempt of Wallace Wilkerson – 1877 That Went Horribly Wrong

In 1877, Wallace Wilkerson was an American businessman who was convicted for ending the life of bartender William Baxter. Authorities at the time said Baxter directed a slur at Wilkerson, a devout Morman living in Utah. This angered Wilkerson, and he reportedly shot Baxter. Although Wilkerson maintained his innocence, he received a capital punishment sentence.

Wilkerson tried appealing his ruling multiple times, including at the US Supreme Court. However, justices ruled a firing squad constitutional, and to this day the precedent is used in other capital punishment cases. Before the squad unleashed on Wilkerson, he took a deep breath.

But it wasn’t his last – the executioner’s shots struck Wilkerson, but none fatally. According to news reports at the time, Wilkerson screamed out: “My God! They missed it!” Authorities let him bleed out, but he survived for an agonizing 27 minutes before finally going to meet his maker.

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