Arkansas · Executions · Famous Last Words · Newspaper clippings

FLW: don’t be afraid

Famous Last Words
Duncan Richardson
Little Rock, Arkansas
February 2, 1923

“Don’t be afraid of me. I would as soon have you do it as anyone.”

Richardson (29) was executed with his brother Ben (19), accomplice E. G. Bullen (also listed as Phelin Bullin) had killed, hacked, dismembered, and partially burned 82-year-old Ira H. Culp on May 11, 1922. After the murder/dismemberment/burning, Culp’s shack containing his body was set on fire. No clear motive for the murder was given (Arkansas Democrat, Sept 3 1922).

The elder Richardson went to his death calmly and rather inquisitively, arriving at the death chamber early, greeting spectators with a hello, and examining the electric chair. His last words were said to the executioner who, surprised at Richardson’s sudden movement towards the chair’s switchbox, moved out of the way. The younger Richardson met his fate silently. Their accomplice also went calmly, though he was noticed to still breathe after the electric shock. His unconscious body was taken from the casket and electrocuted a second time to ensure death. A fourth condemned man, unrelated to the Richardson brother’s murder, admonished the executioner for strapping his hands into the chair’s restraints too tightly, angrily saying “look out there, fellow. You’re mashing my hand.”

From The Concord (NC) Daily Tribune, Feb. 2 1923

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