Showing posts from 2016

Chance to win a copy of 'Wrongly Executed?'

Three author-signed trade paperback copies of Wrongly Executed? The Long-Forgotten Context of Charles Sberna's 1939 Electrocution will be awarded through a promotional drawing on . No purchase is necessary to enter. Entries will be accepted until Jan. 5, 2017, the anniversary of Charles Sberna's meeting with the Sing Sing Prison electric chair. Details are available on the website . Goodreads Book Giveaway Wrongly Executed? - The Long-Forgotten Context of Charles Sberna's 1939 Electrocution by Thomas Hunt Giveaway ends January 05, 2017. See the giveaway details at Goodreads. Enter Giveaway

'Wrongly Executed?' book now available

Sing Sing Warden Lewis Lawes had no doubt on the evening of January 5, 1939: He had just presided over the electric-chair-execution of an innocent man. The prison chaplain and many guards also felt that convicted cop-killer Charles Sberna had been sent to his death unjustly. Lawes made his feelings known in a published book a short time later. Syndicated Broadway columnist Walter Winchell also called attention to the flawed case against Sberna in the summer of 1939 and again early in 1942. According to Winchell, the government knew that District Attorney Thomas Dewey's office had sent an innocent man to the chair and was providing "hush money" payments to Sberna relatives. Since then, opponents of capital punishment have included Sberna's name in collections of those deemed "wrongly executed" and have used the case as a somewhat vague example of the possibility of death penalty error. Still, little is known about Sberna or the circumstances that led him to

Latest project: Writers of Wrongs

A number of writer-friends and I recently launched a blog that provides news, notes and book excerpts related to crime-history projects. We are calling the blog, The Writers of Wrongs . So far, posts have been provided by Christian Cipollini (author of Lucky Luciano: Mysterious Tales of a Gangland Legend ; Murder Inc.: Mysteries of the Mob's Most Deadly Hit Squad ; Diary of a Motor City Hit Man ), Patrick Downey (author of Hollywood on the Spot ; Gangster City ; Legs Diamond: Gangster ; Bad Seeds in the Big Apple ) and, of course, me. We expect to have contributions from additional crime-history authors in the very near future. With big name publishers apparently disinterested in solid histories that dispute the tired oft-published myths of the past and with smaller publishers offering little to nothing in the way of book promotion services, this blog serves the interests of authors and readers. All crime-history authors are welcome to submit news releases to the blog, and an

'Wrongly Executed?' You decide

I have been finishing up a manuscript relating to the 1939 electric-chair execution of convicted cop-killer Charles Sberna. Sberna's name is frequently mentioned by opponents of capital punishment as an example of a wrongful execution. I first wrote an article on the subject years back for the On the Spot Journal published by the late Rick "Mad Dog" Mattix, and I have been accumulating additional information since that time. My original article (a version can be found on my American Mafia history website ) touched on the trial evidence and Sberna's criminal background. It argued that the evidence of Sberna's involvement with two other men in the killing of Officer John H.A. Wilson appeared inconclusive but that it would be a misuse of the word "innocent" ever to apply it to Sberna, who was a habitual wrongdoer. The data acquired since then - trial testimony and evidence, legal appeals, witness statements and tons of background material - has done l