CRIME: Second Chance

In Ohio, when a jury finds a man guilty of a capital crime, the death penalty is mandatory unless the jury recommends mercy. The first jury that heard Cecil Yankey's trial for the crowbar murder of 71-year-old Leroy Woodland in 1947 couldn't reach a verdict. Yankey agreed to plead guilty, was sentenced to life imprisonment by a one-judge court.

After 2½ years in the Ohio Penitentiary at Columbus (where he spent his spare time studying law), Yankey decided he could do better, asked for a second jury trial on a technicality: since he had been sentenced without a jury conviction,...

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!