Aug 19, 2007

Invitation To An Execution, August 19, 1927

The Oregon State Archives tell a story about a notorious prison escape attempt and the resulting conviction and execution of the inmates involved. Here's an image of an invitation to the execution, which was delayed by court appeals until 1928.

Excerpts from the story at the State Archive web site:
"During its one hundred forty-six year history the Oregon State Penitentiary has been the site of many escapes and attempted escapes. One of the more dramatic escapes occurred shortly after 6 p.m. on August 12, 1925. Detailed newspaper accounts describe a hail of bullets that left one inmate and two guards dead, one guard seriously wounded and another badly beaten."

"The convicts involved in the escape were Bert "Oregon" Jones, Thomas Murray, James Willos, and Ellsworth Kelley. Each had a long history of run-ins with the law."

After more than two years of appeals and the cancellation of two previously scheduled hangings, Kelley and Willos were executed on the morning of April 20, 1928."

Here's an image of the "wanted, dead or alive" proclamation issued by Oregon Governor Walter M. Pierce on August 13, 1925.

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