Horace DeVaughan

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Horace DeVaughan (died April 8, 1927) was the first person to be executed by electrocution in the state of Alabama. He was convicted of the murders of A. B. Moore and Ruby Thornton, whose bodies were found on what came to be called Murder Lane near Roebuck on January 16, 1926.

The case was solved by Birmingham Police Detective Paul Cole, who traced the shells found at the scene, which had a unique marking from a defective shotgun. After he was arrested, DeVaughan confessed to the murders and was sentenced to death.

DeVaughan was put to death at Kilby Prison in an electric chair built for the purpose earlier that year. He prayed to Jesus for hours beforehand, and accepted no food, drink or cigarettes on the night of the execution. In his final statement he expressed that he had been forgiven and had no hard feelings toward anyone, and asked for someone to tell his mother goodbye and that his soul was saved.

DeVaughan underwent three 2,000 volt discharges between 12:31 and 12:42 AM. At the first 40-second jolt his body surged forward, a thin gray smoke flowed from under the electrode over his head, and the odor of burning flesh was apparent. After the second discharge, flames were seen on his leg, but he was still alive. After the third jolt, he was pronounced dead. Twenty were present as witnesses, included Moore's brother, George, who traveled from Coffeyville, Kansas and claimed a piece of DaVaughn's belt as a souvenir of his visit.

References

  • Robinson, Lewey (April 8, 1927) "First Alabama Electrocution Held at Kilby". United Press