...as can be learned, in making the final preparations for the execution, some detail was overlooked, with the result that the victim's head was almost completely severed from his body by the drop.
The nerve displayed by Hartnett contrasted strongly with that of the first execution. This man met his fate with fortitude, exhibiting a degree of nerve in the face of death that was truly remarkable. His nerve was firm and steady as he walked to the scaffold and stepped on the trap doors. When the fatal noose was being placed around his neck and the straps around his arms, he never quailed. At the same time he recognized several faces among the spectators and, calling them by name, bade them farewell.
Everything being ready for the drop, he was asked if he had anything to say, to which he replied with a clear and firm voice, "No." The lever was pulled back, and down plunged another body to its end, at 1:25 A.M.
The fall of the body was arrested by a sharp thud as it reached the end of the drop; it swung half was around and a sickening, gurgling sound was plainly heard. This was at first supposed to have come from the mouth, but as one of the doctors grasped the pulse and swung the body partly around toward him, a volume of blood rushed down on the stone floor. It was then seen that the head had been almost entirely severed from the body, and that the gurgling sound sound was the blood rushing from the arteries.
Thirty seconds after the drop had taken place, the doctors felt the last pulsation and pronounced him dead. Following this there was no little excitement, for it was feared that the head would be entirely severed from the body before the body could be taken down. Strong hands were quickly detailed to hold the weight of the body upright until the rope could be taken off. This was a gruesome job. Blood everywhere, still flowing freely, and those who beheld the sight will never forget the sickening spectacle.
As the remains were laid down the head fell to one side nearly at right angles with the neck. It looked to be entirely separate, and, in fact, it was only hanging by a very small strip of skin and muscle.
It was a terrible sight, to see the lifeless body laying there in a pool of the victim's own life blood. Many of the spectators turned pale and some were made deathly sick. Only those of the most unusual will power could stand the sight.
Thus ended one of the most terrible executions on record. The news was heralded in detail by the papers from coast to coast, the gruesome details being dilated upon, even to the most minute detail. Never before had a legal execution worked up such excitement or press comment as this, the second one in the Ohio Penitentiary.
Truly here is one fulfillment of the Bible adage that, "He that sheddeth man's blood, his blood by man shall be shed."