News & Politics

Caryl Chessman Gassed, Villagers Not Consulted


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May 4, 1960, Vol. V, No. 28

They Didn’t Save Chessman

By J.R. Goddard

When convict Caryl Chessman went to his death in California’s gas chamber last Monday, he did so against the strenuous protests of hundreds of New Yorkers who met in Greenwich Village two days earlier to fight for a stay of execution.

The protest meeting, organized by a “Justice for Chessman Committee,” gathered at Judson Memorial Church on Saturday afternoon to hear Socialist Norman Thomas and other noted speakers discuss the Chessman case or denounce capital punishment in general. The meeting was preceeded by a protest march which began at Columbus Circle and went down Fifth Avenue as far as Judson Church.

Chessman, author of several books during his record twelve-year evasion of a 1948 death sentence, has been the subject of world wide sympathy and discussion. Hundreds of thousands of people in foreign countries have demonstrated or signed petitions against his execution. Grounds of these protests have generally been that he did not murder anyone (he was convicted of a kidnap-rape), that he did not have a fair trial, or that he had suffered punishment enough in his twelve years in death row.

[Each weekday morning, we post an excerpt from another issue of the Voice, going in order from our oldest archives. Visit our Clip Job archive page to see excerpts back to 1956.]


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