February 8, 1924
Carson City, Nevada
Gee Jon becomes the first person in the US to be executed in the gas chamber
Gee Jon was a Chinese national who was sentenced to death for the murder of an elderly member of another gang.
Four guards resigned from their positions, stating they wanted nothing to do with this form of execution. Also, the original plan was to pump the gas into Gee Jon’s cell as he slept, but the gas leaked from his cell temporarily sparing his life. Instead, a makeshift gas chamber was hastily built in the prison’s butcher shop, and was tested using cats to ensure it would function properly.
Gee Jon weeped as he was strapped into his chair, until a guard told him to “Brace up!” As the room was colder than ideal (52 degrees F instead of the optimal 75 degrees F), some of the acid pooled on the floor instead of becoming airborne, but the gas did its job. Within seconds, Gee Jon appeared to be unconscious and his head appeared to bob with his breathing for several minutes before becoming completely motionless by 10 minutes.