The Daily Mirror

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May 2, 2010 | 10:03 am

May 2, 1960, Caryl Chessman

May 2, 1960: Don Dwiggins of the Mirror News writes: “At exactly 10:03:25, an unidentified guard tripped a lever that sent cyanide pellets dropping into an acid bucket beneath Chessman's seat.

“Chessman seemed to tense noticeably, held his breath, and then sucked strongly. For the next 8 and three-quarter minutes, Chessman died.

“On inhaling the first breath of the deadly hydrocyanic fumes, Chessman stiffened. His eyes rose upward. He threw his head back and gasped.

“Then, Chessman focused his eyes on a single electric light bulb overhead and directly in front of him. It was 10:05 -- two minutes after the pellets dropped.

“Veins in Chessman's throat swelled full and a thin film of perspiration glistened on his forehead.

He gripped the arms of the steel chair with taut fingers.

“His body slid downward against the chest strap and his head rolled suddenly to the left.

Again, Chessman threw his head back. A single tear glistened in the corner of his right eye and the lids slowly closed for the last time.

“Chessman's mouth opened and a rasping cough began.

“Coming at approximately 30-second intervals, the death cough shook his body and left a spasmodic trembling through his shoulder and neck muscles.

“On the fourth gasp, Chessman's head dropped forward against his chest; the mouth still open.

Slowly, Chessman's fingers relaxed their grip on the chair.

“For long minutes, there was no sound in the steel vault surrounding the lethal chamber, other than the monotonous drone of the exhaust fan sucking the deadly fumes from the chamber.”

May 2, 1960, Caryl Chessman

May 2, 1960, Caryl Chessman

May 2, 1960, Caryl Chessman