February 4, 1927
Atlanta, Georgia
Lottie Bell Ingram (20) and her 16-month-old son are killed in their home

Lottie’s husband Burney arrived home from work on the morning of February 4, 1927 to find his wife and son had been killed. Lottie and 16-month-old Floyd were on a bed together; Lottie’s head had been battered with a smoothing iron leaving her skull fractured while Floyd had been strangled with a piece of cloth, torn from a quilt, which had been left tightly cinched around his neck. Robbery was immediately discounted as a motive as no items of value had been taken from the home.

Several weeks after the double murders, on March 24, Harold Hammond was arrested in the vicinity of the Ingram house. He had been absent from the city immediately following the killings, and his alibi was considered to be “incomplete.” Detectives asked several witnesses, who had reported an encounter with a man unknown to any of them, to participate in a “voice test.” The witnesses verified Hammond’s voice matched that of the stranger who had asked the location of the Ingram home on the evening of the attack.

The Chattanooga News. July 6, 1928
via Newspapers.com

During the trial, Hammond used “colloquialisms, hackneyed phrases and bromides” to explain to the court “how he was a victim of circumstances,” according to The Atlanta Journal [June 16, 1927]. When it appeared the jury was unswayed by Hammond’s claims to have not been involved in the crimes, he instead switched to an insanity defense. He was convicted of the killings and sentenced to death.

In September 1927, Hammond and three other inmates attempted an escape after guards were alerted to the plan. Hammond reportedly threatened to “kill on the spot any blankety-blank who tipped ‘em off about my sawing this bar, because I’ve got to be electrocuted anyway.”

The governor declined to grant Hammond a reprieve from the electric chair, believing “beyond the shadow of a doubt” Hammond had been guilty of the killings and sane at the time in which they were committed. Hammond continued to proclaim his innocence until his death, and reportedly declared, “This is the happiest day of my life,” as he was led by guards to the death chamber. He was executed on July 6, 1928 at the age of 36.

This is the happiest day of my life.

Harold Hammond

Sources:
Hearn, Daniel Allen. Legal Executions in Georgia. Jefferson: McFarland & Company, Inc., 2016
Harold Hammond. Georgia State Board of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics, Standard Certificate of Death. February 8, 1927. Digitized: https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/2562/images/004335163_00353?treeid=&personid=&hintid=&queryId=f0da71ba979251891ad2fabadf1b1571&usePUB=true&_phsrc=KSf3&_phstart=successSource&usePUBJs=true&_ga=2.130048079.1369288249.1612407158-1974064398.1608518424&pId=728876
“Man Convicted Murder Dies In Electric Chair.” The Cushing Daily Citizen. July 6, 1928
“Two Die Friday In Georgia Chair.” The Chattanooga News. July 6, 1928
“Harold Hammond Plays Harmonica On Eve of Death.” The Atlanta Constitution. July 6, 1928
“Fulton Tower Jail Break By Hammond, Three Others Fails.” The Atlanta Constitution. September 19, 1927
M’Cusker, Herb. “Fate of Harold Hammond, Accused Slayer Of Mother and Babe, Goes to Jury Today.” The Atlanta Constitution. June 16, 1927
“Hammond’s Trial Opens Wednesday.” The Atlanta Constitution. April 10, 1927
Floyd Ingram. Georgia State Board of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics, Standard Certificate of Death. February 8, 1927. Digitized: https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/2562/images/004176387_00688?pId=8623
Mrs. Lottie Ingram. Georgia State Board of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics, Standard Certificate of Death. February 8, 1927. Digitized: https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/2562/images/004176387_00687?treeid=&personid=&hintid=&queryId=93e95c676dc153af9d2451af5aa3571c&usePUB=true&_phsrc=BOb1&_phstart=successSource&usePUBJs=true&_ga=2.190024299.1369288249.1612407158-1974064398.1608518424&pId=8622
“May Solve Murder By Fingerprints.” The Chattanooga Times. February 5, 1927

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