The Hanging and Redemption of John Gordon: The True Story of Rhode Island's Last Execution

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On a frigid day in 1843, Amasa Sprague, a wealthy Yankee mill owner, left his mansion to check on his cattle. On the way, he was accosted and beaten beyond recognition, and his body was left facedown in the snow. What followed was a trial marked by judicial bias, witness perjury and societal bigotry that resulted in the conviction of twenty-nine-year-old Irish-Catholic John Gordon. He was sentenced to hang. Despite overwhelming evidence that the trial was flawed and newly discovered evidence that clearly exonerated him, an anti-Irish Catholic establishment refused him a new trial. On February 14, 1845, John Gordon became the last victim of capital punishment in Rhode Island. Local historian Paul F. Caranci brings this case to life, graphically describing the murder and exposing a corrupt judicial system, a biased newspaper and a bigoted society responsible for the unjust death of an innocent man.
ISBN: 9781609498689
Format: Paperback
Publisher: The History Press
State: Rhode Island
Images: 50
Pages: 192
Dimensions: 6 (w) x 9 (h)
Paul F. Caranci is a third generation resident of Centredale, a neighborhood in North Providence. He has served as Rhode Island's Deputy Secretary of State since 2007, and served on the North Providence Town Council from 1994 to 2010. Caranci attended Providence College and Roger Williams University. Patrick T. Conley is the Historian Laureate of Rhode Island.
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