History of the Death Penalty in Arizona

Topics: Death Penalty, Lethal injection, Hanging Pages: 3 (979 words) Published: May 29, 2013
History of the death penalty in Arizona

History of the death penalty in Arizona 1
In this paper we will be taking a look at the history of the Arizona Department of Corrections and its involvement in the highly debated death penalty issue. The history of the death penalty in Arizona has a long history, and has had its own fair share of controversy.

The state's first prison was constructed in Florence, Arizona in the early 1900s. Florence Prison was equipped with a death chamber located one floor above the cells on death row. The chamber itself was a scaffold and, in the floor, a trap door was constructed through which the bodies of the hanged fell into a room below. Death sentences have been carried out in Florence since 1910.

Jose Lopez was the first individual executed by hanging at Florence on January 5, 1910.  On Aug. 1, 1909, Lopez argued with Maria Espinoza, who owed his father $8. After Espinoza did not pay the debt, Lopez left the woman’s home, and later returned with a shotgun, While Espinoza and her seven children were sleeping. One of Espinoza’s sons heard Lopez enter the house, jumped out of bed and yelled. When Espinoza awoke to the commotion, Lopez shot and killed her.  After the execution of Jose Lopez, 8 more individuals were executed. On December 8th 1916, an initiative measure went into effect eliminating the death penalty as punishment for convictions of first degree murder. The death penalty was restored December 5, 1918. Nineteen executions by hanging occurred between April 16, 1920 and June 20, 1931.

The first execution by lethal gas was carried out when two brothers, Manuel and Fred Hernandez, were executed at 5:00 a.m. on July 6, 1934. Lethal gas was used until 1962 when there was a period of 40 years with no executions. The new method of execution acquired by

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