Executions · Pennsylvania · Serial Killers

The execution of H. H. Holmes

May 7, 1896
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Herman Webster Mudgett, alias HH Holmes, is executed by hanging for murder

Holmes’ murders involved designing a hotel specifically to confine and kill. To keep workers from understanding the true purpose of the rooms, he repeatedly replaced them, firing and hiring often. The building was designed with soundproof rooms, rooms accessibly only by a trapdoor in the ceiling, rooms with gas lines to poison the guests, and a secret room used specifically to hang unsuspecting hotel guests. Some guests were simply locked in rooms to die of starvation or dehydration. Disposal of the bodies varied including bodies stripped of their flesh and their skeletons sold to medical facilities, thrown in lime pits or pits of corrosive acid, or incinerated in the hotel’s huge furnaces.

One of the victims was Holmes’ mistress Julia Smythe, who had become pregnant by Holmes and demanded he marry her. He agreed to marriage, but convinced her to terminate her pregnancy. While “preparing” her for the procedure, he killed her with an overdose of chloroform then killed her daughter she had brought with her to live at the hotel.

Holmes was convicted of 4 counts of murder and 6 counts of attempted murder. However, 9 victims were confirmed and Holmes confessed to 27 total, but it is estimated his victim count exceeds 200.

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