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Electric Chair

The electric chair was used for the first time on August 6, 1890 in Auburn, New York, to carry out a death sentence. William Kemmler of Buffalo was the first man to be electrocuted, having been convicted of the murder of his common law wife the year before. This first attempt did not go well, and George Westinghouse, Jr. called it a "brutal affair." Most states have selected other methods to carry out such sentences. From 1930 to the year 2000, a total of 4,542 prisoners were executed under civil authority, all but 37 of them men. At last count, 3,527 prisoners are under sentence of death.


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