Earl Gardner was an Apache living on the San Carlos Reservation in Arizona, when he killed his wife, Alice, and son, Edward, on December 8, 1935. Gardner, who was abusive toward his wife, had a long history of violence, including a seven year federal prison sentence for killing a man in 1925.
At trial in federal court in Globe, Gardner was convicted and sentenced to death on February 6, 1936. He had pleaded guilty and requested to be executed. A trial the previous month ended with a hung jury.
Earl Gardner was hanged near Globe, Arizona, on July 12, 1936. As with the execution of George Sujynamie eleven years earlier, concern about Native American unrest led Arizona officials to deny the U.S. Marshal Service’s request to use the state prison for the execution.
The hanging was badly botched, with Gardner slowly asphyxiating before dying. The subsequent outcry led to a change in federal law that eliminated hangings and directed instead that the method of execution would follow whatever method was used in the state.
It was the last legal hanging in Arizona history.