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Capital punishment in North Dakota

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Title: Capital punishment in North Dakota  
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Subject: List of women on death row in the United States, Abortion in the United States, Capital punishment in the United States, Capital punishment in North Dakota, Capital punishment in Maine
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Capital punishment in North Dakota

Capital punishment was abolished in the U.S. state of North Dakota in 1973.[1] Historically a total of 8 people have been executed in North Dakota, including one execution prior to North Dakota attaining statehood.


According to the North Dakota Penal Code, the imposing of sentences was handed to a jury, with the suggested punishment for first-degree murder being death by hanging or life imprisonment. Until 1903 executions were carried out in public. The first private execution was that of John Rooney, who was hanged inside the Cass County prison on 17 October 1905. Rooney was the last person executed in North Dakota. In 1915 the death penalty was abolished for ordinary murder, commuting the death sentence of Joe Milo, who was convicted of double murder in course of a robbery.[2] It remained for treason and murder committed by an inmate already serving a life sentence, however, nobody was executed for these offences until the death penalty was finally abolished in 1973.

No federal executions have ever taken place in North Dakota. On February 8, 2007 Alfonso Rodriguez, Jr. was sentenced to death for the murder of Dru Sjodin and is now the only person on federal death row for a crime committed in North Dakota.[3]

List of individuals executed in North Dakota

# Name Date of execution Method of execution Victim(s) Governor
1 George Miller October 30, 1885 hanging Abbie Snell and her son Herbert Gilbert A. Pierce
2 Albert Bomberger January 19, 1894 hanging Daniel Kreider, his wife Barbara and their children Bernice, Melby, Mary and David Eli C. D. Shortridge
3 James W. Cole March 24, 1899 hanging Sophronia Ford Frederick B. Fancher
4 Hans Thorpe September 14, 1900 hanging His wife Ida
5 Ira O. Jenkins September 14, 1900 hanging August Stark
6 Jacob Bassanella February 20, 1903 hanging Anton Heilinger Frank White
7 William R. Ross December 5, 1903 hanging Thomas Walsh
8 John Rooney 17 October 1905 hanging Harold Sweet Elmore Y. Sarles

See also


  1. ^ Death Penalty Information Center
  2. ^ North Dakota Supreme Court
  3. ^ Star Tribune story on death sentence

External links

  • Frank Vyzralek, Capital crimes and criminals executed in northern Dakota Territory and North Dakota, 1885–1905", 2000-10-19
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