Kot-Ko-Wat was a Chilkat Indian, a tribe located along the Alaskan Coast. He killed Thomas J. Brown in Sitka, Alaska Territory in early 1879.

For reasons that are not entirely clear, though are probably related to concern that the killing of a white man by an Alaskan Native would not produce a conviction in Alaskan courts, Kot-Ko-Wat was transferred to Oregon for prosecution. Given the issues of sovereignty such a maneuver raises, it is also not clear how this was justified under law. The jarring racism directed at Native Americans may offer insights.

Albany (Oregon) Democrat, April 25, 1879

Nonetheless, Kot-Ko-Wat was convicted of murder in the United States District Court for the District of Oregon and was sentenced to death by Judge Matthew Deady on April 25, 1879.

Kat-Ko-Wat was hanged in Portland, Oregon, on May 8, 1879.

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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