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Since 1915, the official list of executions in Oklahoma shows one hanging

Newspaper reports say the hanging on June 19, 1936, was a botched execution.
by Bryan Painter Published: May 4, 2014

The execution of Arthur Gooch on June 19, 1936, stands out on the state Corrections Departments list of executions that dates to 1915.

That is partially because it is the only hanging on the list.

Also, Gooch’s crime stands out — kidnapping.

Gooch was executed for violating the Lindbergh kidnapping law. The law was enacted after the 1932 kidnapping of the 20-month-old son of famed aviator Charles Lindbergh. The body of the Lindbergh child was found about two months later.

Gooch and another man were among some inmates who escaped from a jail in Oklahoma. These two stayed together, according to an Associated Press story in The Oklahoman on the day of the execution.

“At Paris, Texas, they seized two officers who accosted them at a filling station,” the story said. “One of the officers was shoved through a showcase during the scuffle.

“Fleeing in the police car, with the officers as hostages, they drove into Oklahoma, where they released their victims.”

Later, in a gunbattle with police, the other escapee was killed and Gooch was arrested.

Gooch was hanged on gallows erected in a courtyard at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester in front of 350 witnesses.

The following day, an Associated Press story in The Oklahoman reported, “Dressed in a black suit, Gooch was led from the death cell to the death mechanism 100 yards away. After mounting the 13 gallows steps, he stood with a smile playing on his lips.

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