Arthur Gooch

Arthur Gooch and Ambrose Nix were on the run in Texas after escaping from jail in Holdenville, Oklahoma, in 1934.

Fort Worth Star Telegraph, October 24, 1934

In Tyler, Texas, on November 25, 1934, the two men committed a robbery. Approached by police the next day, the pair forced the two police officers back in to their patrol car and fled with them into Oklahoma.

Brownsville Herald, November 27, 1934

The officers were released unharmed in Oklahoma. No matter. The Lindbergh Law, enacted in the wake of the sensational kidnapping of the famed aviator’s son in 1932, had been violated. The law made kidnapping a federal capital offense, even in the absence of murder.

Gooch and Nix were apprehended in Oklahoma in December, 1934. Nix was killed while being arrested.

Arthur Gooch was executed by hanging in Oklahoma on June 19, 1936. His was the only federal execution for kidnapping that did not involve murder.

Arthur Gooch on the gallows

Author: Bill Lofquist

I am a sociologist and death penalty scholar at the State University of New York at Geneseo. I am also a Pittsburgh native. My present research focuses on the history of the death penalty in Allegheny County (Pittsburgh), Pa. This website is dedicated to collecting, analyzing, and sharing information about all Allegheny County cases in which a death sentence was imposed. Please share any questions or comments, errors or omissions, or other matters of interest related to these cases or to the broader history of the death penalty in Allegheny County.

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