DURING THE REEFER MADNESS ERA
Name: Tony Chebatoris - Location: - Midland MI - Date: - Oct. 1937
Hammond Times - No Mention Of Marihuana is made??
Oct 28, 1937 pp5 – “Bank Bandit is Identified”
Oct 20, 1937 pp4 – Federal Jury Indicts First Robber-Killer Under New U.S. Law”
Nov. 4, 1937 pp18 – Federal Jury Indicts First Robber-Killer Under New U.S. Law”
Dec. 1, 1937 pp2 -
APPLETON POST-CRESCENT - Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
July 8, 1938 pp.2 – Federal Execution of Robber-Killer Is First in Michigan in 108 Years.
THE CHARLEROI MAIL - Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
Oct 29, 1937 – pp1 – “Suicide Try by County Man in Michigan Jail”
DAILY TRIBUNE – Wisconsin Rapids
Oct. 29, 1937 pp3 – “Bank Robber Tries Suicide”
Nov. 3, 1937 – pp3 – “Justice Dep’t. in Quandary Over Robber’s Execution”
HELENA INDEPENDENT – Wisconsin Rapids
July 9, 1938 – pp1 “Execution in Michigan Held Despite Protest”
EVENING SENTINEL – Holland Michigan
Feb. 3, 1937 pp9- “Michigan Was First To Abolish Death Penalty”
IRONWOOD DAILY GLOBE – Ironwood Michigan
Nov. 9, 1937 pp1. “Find Chebatoris Could Be Put to Death in Michigan”
Nov. 10, 1937 pp1. “Robber Is Given Death Sentence”
Nov. 1, 1937 pp1 “Chebatoris is Taken to Detention Farm”
[Key-finder - Case#MI03None]
ABOUT TONY CHEBATORIS - The Legend and the Myth
From the Book
"DOPE PAL OF THE UNDERWORLD" by Locy West
“I Saw Him Die”MUSEUM NOTES:
Not that it matters too much, but Tony Chebatoris was: Hanged not electrocuted and was 38 years of age at the time. Moral of this story -- Don’t believe too much of what you read in those “True Detective Type” magazines.
TONY CHEBATORIS TRIVIA
While in life he may have been a looser, his death was bound to leave his legacy as a legend. Granted an annoying sort of one, but a legend never-the-less. For in death, or actually a bit before that --- He would become known as “The Man They couldn’t Figure Out How to Kill.” And that’s a literal not a figurative.
The story (as told) actually began some 82-years earlier, when the State of Michigan, for good or for bad, abolished the death penalty. Sort of like that song line from the rock-opera Jesus Christ Super Star; ---“We have no Law to put a man to death.”
Okay, now let’s move the clock forward some eight years or so, to the Tony Chebatoris case. It appears he fell through the cracks by violating both a Federal as well as a State Law at the same time, thus making eligible for the death penalty. But . . . . here was the problem. It appears that (there being no one to execute for well over 80 years), that the State of Michigan had long ago done away with any means of doing so. Simply put, it had no gas chamber, no electric chair, no gallows, no mechanism for a firing squad, no nothing. And as if to add more misery to the subject, it appears that there's a whole set of legal rules and procedures associated with any kind of State execution. Things like, there must be two or more switches (with at least one of them being disconnected); Or if a firing squad is used, one of the bullets used must be a blank round (so everyone in the firing squad could always claim they had the blank), etc. ALL OF WHICH the State of Michigan didn’t have.
So the execution of Tony Chebatoris was, right from the get-go, was proving to be no easy thing. And to add insult to injury, just who was going to pay for the whole thing. I mean, who wanted to build a gas changer for a one and only one time use> In fact it was proving to be such a hassle that there was even talk of just forgetting the whole thing. (Again, Mr. Chebatoris may have been a looser in life, but in death (or actually on his way there), destiny had dictated otherwise.
MUSEUM COMMENT: We’re not exactly sure of exactly how and where Chebatoris was finally put to rest, but it appears that it did happen in the State of Michigan. So a happy ending for all but one individual after all.
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