Hangman With a Heart

Was Phil Hanna an angel of mercy or just another cog in the machinery of state-sponsored death?

Rainey Bethea ascends the scaffold to his public hanging in Owensburg, KY in 1936. G. Phil Hanna is on the scaffold in the white hat, holding the rope.

ON DECEMBER 5, 1896, a wealthy 22-year-old Epworth, Illinois farmer and landowner named G. Phil Hanna witnessed the hanging of Fred Behme, who had been convicted and sentenced to die in McLeansboro for the murders of his wife and infant son. Hanna claimed to have been…

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Dale M. Brumfield

Dale M. Brumfield

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Anti-death penalty advocate, cultural archaeologist, “American Grotesk” historyteller and author of 11 books. More at www.dalebrumfield.net.