Criminal Justice: Lucky Death Sentence

"By your vicious act," intoned Mary land Judge James H. Pugh, "you are not entitled to any consideration by the court. You were so ravenous that nothing could prevent you from committing this treacherous act. You were determined to satisfy your passionate desires." He then proceeded to sentence two Negro defendants—James and John Giles—to the gas chamber for the rape of a white girl near Spencerville, Md. In a separate trial, a third defendant, Joseph Johnson, was also convicted and condemned. Though the three hardly thought so then, they were actually lucky to get the death sentence. The punishment...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

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