Colorado

Man plants bomb in mother’s luggage to kill her and collect insurance money

November 1, 1955
Near Longport, Colorado
A bomb on United Airlines Flight 629 explodes, planted by Jack Gilbert Graham in an effort to kill his mother for insurance money

Graham had taken out a $37,000 air flight insurance policy out on his mother Daisie E. King shortly before her flight took off. Eleven minutes after take off, “a number of sticks of dynamite attached to a battery with a timing mechanism in the form of a bomb” exploded in the plane’s tail. The blast nearly disintegrated the entire plane except the tail, leading investigators to determine the explosion originated at the rear of the plane and was propelled forward. All 44 passengers and crew aboard were killed.

Suspicion fell on Graham when it was noted his mother had not signed her insurance policy, rendering it invalid. Upon questioning, Graham confessed to planting the bomb in his mother’s suitcase. The signed confession combined with evidence Graham had previous experience with dynamite and was considered a “near mechanical genius” sealed Graham’s fate. He was convicted of the murders of 44 and sentenced to death.

Graham was executed on January 11, 1957 at the age of 24. His last words were simply “Thanks, warden.”

Graham being transported during trial

Sources:

  • “Graham Goes To Death House.” The Gallup Independent [Gallup, New Mexico]. January 13, 1957
  • “Delay Arraignment Of Plane Saboteur.” El Paso Herald-Post [El Paso, Texas]. November 17, 1955
  • “‘Graham Near Genius Mechanic’.” Lincoln Journal Star [Lincoln, Nebraska]. November 14, 1955
  • “Man Admits Sabotage.” Eugene Register-Guard [Eugene, Oregon]. November 14, 1955

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