Crime: Stirrings on Death Row

Just before the door to the octagonal, green gas chamber in California's San Quentin prison clanged shut, the condemned man twisted toward the witnesses. Straining against the eight thick straps that bound him to a chair, he cried: "I am Jesus Christ!" Moments later, a pellet of potassium cyanide was dropped into a solution of dilute sulfuric acid, and blowers began sucking the lethal gas upward. Within twelve minutes, Aaron Mitchell, 37, who was convicted of slaying a Sacramento policeman during a 1963 tavern holdup, was dead. He was the first man...

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