CALIFORNIA: Race in the Death House

San Francisco Lawyer George T. Davis was in a gut-wracking hurry. He glanced at his wristwatch: 8:50 a.m. In 70 minutes Burton W. Abbott, 29, found guilty of murdering a teen-aged girl, would die in San Quentin's gas chamber. Davis waited tensely for the U.S. Court of Appeals to grant a stay of execution based on his claim that Abbott had not received due process of law. Then the answer came: appeal denied.

Davis moved fast. Perhaps California's Governor Goodwin J. Knight would grant a brief stay. But the governor, who was just preparing to inspect the Navy's aircraft carrier...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!