Northcott’s death penalty

After his 1929 conviction for killing young boys on his Wineville Chicken Ranch, Gordon Northcott was put to death within months, as Wikipedia notes:

On February 8, 1929, a 27-day trial before Judge George R. Freeman in Riverside County, California, ended. Gordon Northcott was convicted of the murders of an unidentified Mexican boy[5] and brothers Lewis and Nelson Winslow (aged 12 and 10, respectively).[11] The brothers had been reported missing from Pomona on May 16, 1928.[12] However, it was believed Northcott may have had as many as 20 victims.[13] The jury heard that he kidnapped, molested, tortured, killed, and dismembered these and other boys throughout 1928. On February 13, 1929, Judge Freeman sentenced Northcott to be hanged.[14] The sentence was carried out on October 2, 1930.

While death sentences are still handed out in California, the average time from conviction to execution is about 16 years. Thus today’s Crime Scene poll, Do you think Northcott would be executed for similar crimes today?



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  • SB420

    If there’s any justice left in the world, he should. By gallows no less. He was a monster, and he deserved the slow death he got.

  • Kevin James O’Mahony

    I write this message on October 10, which marks World Day Against the Death Penalty.

    I do not know whether Gordon Northcott would be executed in California today for committing those heinous crimes, but I hope that he would not be. It takes intellectual and moral sophisitcation for a US politician to oppose the death penalty against today’s onslaught of ignorant pro death penalty populism.

    As a conservative, I passionately believe there is nothing conservative about supporting capital punishment, any more than there is anything conservative about supporting flogging or hand-chopping. The death penalty is a medieval sanction that has no place in any Western democracy that embraces truth, justice and human rights.