Earl Gardner

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.

Arizona Daily Star, December 9, 1935

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.

Arizona Republic, July 13, 1936

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.

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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