October 16, 1925
Michigan City, Indiana
John Koval is executed for murdering his landlady after an argument over a cigarette
Koval rented a room from Martha Egelsky (or Egolowski, Egalowski, Segersky, or Sigilesky; newspapers were not consistent with her surname) and the two were known to enjoy drinking together. In April 1925, the pair became inebriated as they often would, though they soon engaged in an argument. Early reports indicated the fight was the result of Koval demanding money he claimed Egelsky had taken from him for safe keeping but refused to return. Later reports, however, stated Koval became angry after he asked Egelsky for a cigarette which she did not supply.
During the argument Koval cut Egelsky’s throat. After she bled out, Koval placed Egelsky’s body in her bed and covered it with a sheet before fleeing. He was soon found by police who saw his legs protruding from a bush he had decided to hide in, a few hundred feet from the crime scene.
Koval was arrested and confessed to the murder. At trial, the judge asked him if he could give any reason why he deserved a life sentence rather than the death penalty. Koval smiled and replied “no.” He was sentenced to be executed in the electric chair, a sentence which was carried out on October 16, 1925.
Hearn, Daniel Allen. Legal Executions in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky and Missouri. Jefferson: McFarland & Company, Inc., 2016
“Russian Executed at State Prison.” The Star Press [Muncie, Indiana]. October 17, 1925
“Murderer is Taken to “Pen”.” The Times [Munster, Indiana]. July 20, 1925
“Slayer of Woman to Die in Electric Chair.” The Indianapolis News. July 3, 1925
“Six Are Indicted For Murder.” The Times. June 6, 1925
“Inquest of Orgy Victim Held Today.” The Times. April 4, 1925
“Boarder Slays Mother Of Six Children.” The Times. April 3, 1925