Rufus Binyon

Rufus Binyon, his wife, and an eight-year old orphaned girl named Mary Hawthorne, all of whom were Black, lived near Ran, Indian Territory.

On May 18, 1900, while his wife was away from home, Binyon raped and killed young Mary, put her body in the fire to destroy the evidence of his crimes, and left. When his wife returned, she found Mary’s body in the fire and, believing she had fallen into the fire, yelled for help.

When neighbors responded and pulled Mary’s body from the fire, they realized that she had been beaten. Rufus confessed.

Binyon was convicted of murder on January 15, 1902, and was sentenced to death. After appeals that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, Rufus Binyon was hanged in Ardmore on September 22, 1905.

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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