The Last Legal Hanging in the USA (2023)


A look at the 1937 hanging of Roscoe Red Jackson in Galena Missouri. The convicted murderer was hanged on May 21, 1937. First we look at Galena and its attributes then we discuss the hanging with pictures from the time.


This is the story of a beautiful land, a land of abundance wildlife, abounding, cool, Clear, Mountain streams and rivers, but it's, also the story of a tragedy.

The last legal hanging in the United States, Galena, Missouri.

Hello, I'm, Ed, hi I'm, Jeannie, we're, your hosts for these travels through the Ozarks then.

And now the story of people in places past and present enjoy your upcoming adventures with us.

We're now driving down highway.

413 413 is also designated, Ozark, Mountain, Parkway, it's, a very curvy Road, lots of turns s, turns what have you it was built back in the day when they didn't have the Machinery we have today.

It was built with wagons.

Men horses mules Dynamite hand, tools.

And what they would do is chill out the top part of the mountain and lay it down on the lower part to build up a road bed.

It was dark.

Then gravel later on it became chip and seal it paved.

But it was still a ledge hanging off the side of the mountain, even to this day and you'll see that as we progress on down some of the places you could fall off if you did allow your front wheel, right front wheel to get off the road right here, then your impulse would be to pull back to your left and pull hard to your left.

Therefore, what would happen is you would start a roll down the hill.

Many have many have died there, but motorcyclists love this mountain love this road.

They come in by the twos fours twenties 30s, 50s, sometimes even a police escort with them they're, such a string of them it's, a it's, a major portion of fun for them we're.

Now, looking at the James River, the James flows through Galena.

It was one reason that Galena settled where it did.

Pioneers were always looking for the fresh clean water.

James is a fast-flowing river.

It flows shallow in this area, but it flows about 130 miles altogether.

If you wanted a nice canoe trip from Springfield Missouri to Table Rock Lake is about a three-day canoe trip on the James A lot of people take this trip that bridge in the background is uh, the y bridge it's, a very famous bridge on the National Historic register.

But conservation department takes good care of this area.

They keep it clean.

They keep licenses.

They check often.

So we owe them a vote of thanks for the the beauty of this area.

And this is a very popular place on the James River it's called blunts Landing, Blunt's landing and many many fishermen come here because it's a wider and a little deeper in the middle, but you can still see it's flowing along into pretty good Pace, nice, clear water, uh, this, uh area of the lake has, of course, the Ozark bass.

It has bluegill.

It has Rocky.

And in some areas, the lake there are trout in the faster flowing areas.

But in this area is very popular, because these Shores have been lined with fishermen for a very very long, there's, a somebody's trout line up in a tree.


Guess they put it up there to preserve it until they need it we're going to take the cruise around the square of Galena.

Now, this is the west side of the square that we're starting with that's, a nice brick building right there with the store for wow.

I wonder, what's in there I'll have to check on that later, you'll notice, there's a few cars.

Some storefronts have no Legends on them.

So we don't know what they are this one coming up right here is the Galena City Hall.

And police department Galena is a government Town.

It is occupied by City County state, governments and we'll we'll see a little bit more of that as we're going around the square we're, moving there's, a nice little church, we're moving around to the south side of the square now.

And this looks like it's going to be the assessor's office and it's Annex, uh, then we get a little fire department.

There, I think, yeah, I think so I'm, not sure what that is then we're going to move on to the east side of the square where the Judiciary building is the Judiciary Circuit, Court, County, Court, uh, man, jail and Sheriff's.


Housed there that building was built.

It was designed.

It was supposed to look like the architecture of the town.

I think they missed.

But it is a nice building.

And they've had no jailbreak since it's been there.

And that was built I.

Guess in the 90s we're moving on to the north side of the square.


And this first building is called the Bean Counter that used to be the bank of Galena years and years ago.

And of course, the health department is there that's, another county office and I believe there's a medical testing equipment testing company, right there in that brick building as we travel on.

We leave the north side of the building I or north side of the square, uh now, we're going to tour the courthouse.

This is the South side of the courthouse.

Not the front.

This is the back of the courthouse.

And this is going to enter very much into the next segment of the video of the the actual hanging that took place took place on the lawn here on the south eastern corner now, we're coming up the east side of the courthouse.

Uh, this every side has an entrance.

So this is the Eastern interest entrance, but, um, the east side of the courthouse and it's, continuing on the east side, just from a different View.

This courthouse is, uh, somewhat famous it's on the National Historic register and has been since 1980, uh, it's, uh, was built in 1920 in its classical Revival style.

Brick it's on a concrete foundation, three stories.

And and a basement has those story columns in the front are Doric style, columns, uh, cost, forty seven thousand dollars to build in 1920 and just underwent a five million dollar remodel here recently in the last few years.

But now we're, looking at the west side of the courthouse, the Western entrance and we're coming back around to the South entrance again, we're going to look at that in a little bit more detail.

And consider the repercussions of the the hanging, the sheriff had set up a stockade on this side, uh, where people could do the hanging and I'm going to show you exactly where the scaffolding was built.

Those first floor, Windows, not the bottom floor.

But the the second floor like the first floor of Windows, the full size windows, uh, where where the jail was there on the corner, not not in the middle, not in the curve.

But back there now we're looking at where the Stockade would have been built through all of this area covering everything that you see right here.

It was a 1600 square foot, stockade and right about now we're going to start seeing the scaffolding up here and it's going to go into its location that's where it was, in fact, that's now, a picture of 1937 everybody's, Captain, 10.

So Mr Jackson had the opportunity to watch and hear it being built I've, maybe couldn't, see it I, don't know, I don't know what to layouts.

But there was a scaffolding being built for just outside of it.

There was a scaffolding chemistry word of warning.

The rest of this video is going to be fairly graphic.

You may not want children to watch or hear it.

There are pictures of a graphic situation a hanging we do not show the end result.

But we do have pictures of the progress as this hanging takes place.

So please be warned that it is graphic.

And in three two one, it begins Galena Missouri, 25 miles Southwest of Springfield Missouri, 15 miles to the west of Highway 65.

The time is May 20th, 1937 it's, a party atmosphere in Galena.

The bars are full there's, drunk and disorderly arrests being made, but it's a party it's a carnival for tomorrow.

We hang a man on the Town Square, Sheriff, Isaiah coin has issued 400 passes to the hanging itself.

Sheriff Isaiah Coyne has caused to be built a 1600 square foot Stockade on the Southeast corner of the courthouse on May.

21St, 1937, 605 am the hanging took place Roscoe Jackson, looking Serene in this picture, having been baptized recently in the cold Waters of the James River walked up the steps with a priest and others to his death.

Sheriff Coyne is waiting at the top.

What Moscow reaches the top his hands are bound.

His feet are bound.

And a black hood is placed over his head.

Then the Rope was placed around his neck for what reason was this.

Well, Mr Jackson will call him red was hitchhiking back to the Galena area from Pauls Valley Oklahoma.

He was picked up by a feed nutrient salesman based out of St Louis near Paul's, Valley and driven to Forsyth on the way back toward Galena Pearl Bozarth was the man's name.

And for his kindness, he was killed.

He gave money to red.

He bought him dinner.

And he lodged him overnight in a campground near Forsyth Missouri.

The next morning read repaid, Mr Bozarth with three bullets to the back of the head or one to the abdomen abdomen.

The reports vary on this, the robbery itself, netted ether, 18 or 24 dollars, depending on who you ask, it really doesn't matter if the amount of money involved.

What matters is that Mr Bozarth was killed in Cold, Blood, apparently premeditated.

Thanks for watching to the end.

We do apologize for difficulties and sound in video in some places.

This is our first attempt, and we will get better.

Please subscribe.

So you can see our upcoming videos of people in places then.

And now in the Ozarks we have many more coming, and we can only be successful with your help our special.

Thanks go to Julian Barb at the Stone County, Historical, Society in Crane Missouri and to the Fine, ladies of the Stone County Library without the help of these people.

Our research would have been impossible.

Thank you.


We are grateful so please leave your comments, good bad or indifferent, and we will try to reply.

And please do remember to subscribe.


The Last Legal Hanging in the USA? ›

Delaware's Billy Bailey was the last criminal to be hanged in the United States, in 1996. Bailey was just the third criminal to be hanged since 1965, the other two being Charles Rodman Campbell in 1994 and Westley Allan Dodd in 1993, both in Washington State.

When was the last legal hanging in the US? ›

Photo: Perry Ryan, author of The Last Public Execution in America. May 1, 2001 -- The United States has a long history of so-called "legal" public executions. The last one was carried out in Owensboro, Kentucky, in 1936 when Rainey Bethea was hanged after his conviction for the rape and murder of a 70-year-old woman.

When did they stop the hanging? ›

Public hangings were held in England until 1868, when they were removed to prisons. Hanging became the standard mode of execution throughout the British Empire and wherever else the Anglo-American common law was adopted.

When was the last firing squad in the US? ›

Mississippi, Oklahoma, Utah and South Carolina also permit the method as an alternative to lethal injection. The last person to be executed by a firing squad was convicted killer Ronnie Lee Gardner, according to the group, who was shot to death by a firing squad in a Utah prison in 2010.

When did Washington State stop hanging? ›

On May 27, 1994, the State of Washington conducts its last execution by hanging.

What three states still allow hanging? ›

Three states – Delaware, New Hampshire, and Washington – still permit hanging. Four states – Mississippi, Oklahoma, Utah, and South Carolina – allow for death by firing squads. (Copyright 1951 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

What was the largest US hanging? ›

On December 26, 1862, following the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862, the federal government hanged 38 members of the Dakota tribe in Minnesota. It was the largest mass execution in United States history.

Do any states still use firing squad execution? ›

Idaho lawmakers passed a bill this week seeking to add the state to the list of those authorizing firing squads, which currently includes Mississippi, Utah, Oklahoma and South Carolina.

How many states still have the death penalty? ›

Capital punishment is currently authorized in 27 states, by the federal government and the U.S. military.

When was death by hanging first used? ›

Therefore, it's likely it's been used as a method of killing for thousands of years. But the first recorded instance of hanging first appears in Persia, modern-day Iran, around 2,500 years ago.

What 4 states allow firing squad? ›

Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Utah allow the firing squad, though it's only been used three times, and only in Utah, since the 1970s. “The most humane method of execution is the firing squad.

What happens if you survive execution? ›

Answer and Explanation: If someone survives the death penalty, they are usually re-executed, sometimes on the spot. Survival of the death penalty is not common, but has happened: people survive the intense shock of the electric chair or a lethal injection, requiring a second administration of the execution.

Who spent the shortest time on death row? ›

Joe Gonzales

Is there a death penalty in California? ›

This means that while the death penalty is still technically on the books, no one is currently being put to death by the State of California. In January 2022, Governor Newsom took the further step of ordering the dismantling of California's "death row" (in San Quentin Prison).

Can you choose to be hung in Washington state? ›

Death-row prisoners in Washington were able to choose if their execution would be carried out by lethal injection or hanging. If the prisoner made no decision, the default method was lethal injection.

Is the death penalty legal in Oregon? ›

Capital punishment is legal in Oregon, though its last execution was in 1997.

When was the last legal hanging in California? ›

On August 27, 1937, the California State Legislature replaced hanging as the method of capital punishment with lethal gas. The law did not affect the execution method for those already sentenced. As a result, the last execution by hanging at Folsom was conducted December 3, 1937.

When was the guillotine banned? ›

The use of the guillotine continued in France well into the 20th century, diminishing during the 1960s and '70s, with only eight executions occurring between 1965 and the last one in 1977. In September 1981 France outlawed capital punishment and abandoned the use of the guillotine.

When was the last execution in Texas? ›

Since 1819, the State of Texas has executed 1,334 people. According to the TDCJ, the most recent execution was Feb. 9, 2023.

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