Executions · Kentucky

Man executed for killing in-laws, neighbor after custody dispute

March 15, 1946
Eddyville, Kentucky
Anderson Adkins (33) is executed for the murders of three and the attempted murder of a fourth

At the time of the shootings, Anderson and his wife — identified as Mrs. Elmo Adkins — had recently divorced. Additionally, Anderson has been denied custody of their son Jimmy, which angered him. He visited the home of his ex-wife’s family on February 11, 1945, and shot several of those present.

Mrs. Orbin K. Long (34, sister to Mrs. Adkins), Clarence Blackburn (29, married to a different sister of Mrs. Adkins), and Mrs. Tom Johnson (49, a neighbor who was visiting) were shot and killed; Blackburn was shot twice in the chest and, despite being mortally wounded, grappled with Anderson in an attempt to subdue him. A fourth person, Mrs. Burton Bently (26, Mrs. Adkins’ sister-in-law), was seriously wounded after being shot in the chest, right eye, and left cheek. The attack left her permanently blinded.

Anderson fled into the mountains but was apprehended an hour later. He was convicted in each murder, receiving a life sentence for the deaths of Blackburn and Johnson and a death sentence for the death of Long. He was executed in the electric chair leaving behind no recorded final statement.

Sources:
Hearn, Daniel Allen. Legal Executions in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky and Missouri. Jefferson: McFarland & Company, Inc., 2016
“Ohio Valley States.” The Cincinnati Enquirer. March 17, 1946
“Slayer of Three Dies In Electric Chair.” Harrisburg Telegraph. March 15, 1946 (image source, via newspapers.com)
“Anderson Adkins To Die Tomorrow.” The Owensboro, KY., Inquirer. March 14, 1946
“3 Persons Killed In Family Argument.” Alabama Journal [Montgomery, Alabama]. February 12, 1945
“Father Kills 3 In Dispute Over Boy, 10.” Dayton Journal. February 12, 1945

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