The New Mexican
3/12/2009 - 3/13/09
3/12/2009 - 3/13/09
Here's a list of all legal executions performed by the New Mexico Department of Corrections (between 1913 and 1929 all executions there were the responsibilities of individual county sheriffs):
July 21, 1933: Two men die in the state's new electric chair. The first was Thomas Johnson, a black man convicted of killing 18-year-old Angelina Jaramillo, who had been raped and killed in her Santa Fe home. Through the years some have claimed that Johnson was framed by authorities. Author Ralph Melnick wrote a book called Justice Betrayed (2002) in which he argues Johnson was innocent and the guilty party was part of the victim's family. Melnick points out that Johnson's race constantly was made an issue in The New Mexican at the time, with Johnson frequently referred to as "The Negro" in this newspaper's stories and headlines. The paper even ran an editorial saying the killing was evidence that black people should not be permitted to live in Santa Fe.
Santiago Garduño was executed the same day as Johnson. He was convicted of murdering his stepson. Garduño gave the boy a drink of whiskey laced with strychnine.
May 10, 1946: Pedro Talamonte, who was convicted in Gallup of murdering his 25-year-old wife.
June 13, 1947: Louis Young was the second black man accused of killing a white or Hispanic Santa Fe woman to die in the electric chair. Young was a prison inmate who worked as personal handyman at the prison warden's home which was near the victim's house. Young confessed to the crime following a late-night interrogation in his cell by authorities, though he soon recanted, saying the confession was forced. Despite efforts by civil rights organizations throughout the state, Young was executed.
Feb. 19, 1954: Arthur Johnson, who was convicted of murdering and robbing a Hobbs man.
Oct. 29, 1954: Frederick Heisler, who was convicted of murdering a man who had given him a ride hitchhiking.
Feb. 24, 1956: James Larry Upton, who also was convicted of murdering a man who had given him a ride hitchhiking. According to newspaper accounts, several spectators at his electrocution were drunk and rowdy.
Jan. 8, 1960: David Cooper Nelson, who was the first and only New Mexico inmate to die in the gas chamber. He was the third New Mexico inmate to be executed after being convicted of murdering a man who had given him a ride hitchhiking.
Nov. 6, 2001: Terry Clark was convicted of the 1986 murder of 9-year-old Dena Lynn Gore in Artesia. Clark voluntarily halted his appeals process. He, so far, is the only New Mexico to be executed by lethal injection.