I was working as the assistant to the head of personnel for the news division at a major network — you know, the one with the big eyeball logo. The word came in one day that the head anchorman was retiring, and my boss, Mr. Fredericks, was in charge of finding his replacement.
Share on TwitterTweet Barbara Graham surrounded by the press after receiving a death sentence. I hope my baby drops dead if I did it.
She hugged her 20 month year old son Tommy as he clutched a stuffed toy. Graham was originally supposed to go to Death Row at San Quentin to await her execution, but budget cuts made it impossible to provide enough female officers to guard her.
He was declared legally dead in Santo and Perkins were scheduled for a couple of hours later. It was going to be ladies first.
The car with Barbara handcuffed in the backseat arrived at San Quentin in the wee hours of the morning. The execution had been delayed.
Barbara collapsed and almost had to be carried back to the cot in the holding cell. About 20 minutes later the phone rang again, it was the Governor for Warden Teets. He told him to go ahead with the execution.
Barbara was brought to her feet and escorted to the entrance of the gas chamber.
The phone rang a third time and she was drawn back from the brink. I was ready to go at ten. Twenty minutes more passed. One of the matrons had a sleep mask. Barbara Graham was the only person ever to ask for a blindfold for the gas chamber. He told her to take a deep breath and it would go easier and quicker for her.
A couple of hours later Jack Santo and Emmett Perkins went to their deaths in the same gas chamber with very little fuss and no drama.
It was reported that the two men chatted amiably as they were strapped in to their respective chairs, and when they were ready to go Perkins allegedly said to the assembled cops: Henry Graham drove up to Northern California for the funeral, but he left their son Tommy at home.
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