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On April 14, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln is shot at Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C. The assassin, actor John Wilkes Booth, shouted, "Sic simper tyrannis! (Ever thus to tyrants!) The South is avenged," as he jumped onto the stage and fled on horseback. Lincoln died early the next morning.
On April 13, 1984, mass murderer Christopher Wilder dies after a month-long crime spree involving eleven young women who have disappeared or been killed. Police in New Hampshire attempted to apprehend Wilder, who was on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List, but Wilder apparently shot himself to death in a scuffle with state troopers to avoid capture.
On April 12, 1633, chief inquisitor Father Vincenzo Maculano da Firenzuola begins the inquisition of physicist and astronomer Galileo Galilei. Galileo was ordered to turn himself in to the Holy Office to begin trial for holding the belief that the Earth revolves around the Sun, which was deemed heretical by the Catholic Church.
On April 11, 1947, Louise Peete is executed in the gas chamber of San Quentin Prison. She was one of only four women executed in the California gas chamber. She was born Lofie Louise Preslar on September 20, 1880 in Bienville, Louisiana. Her childhood was uneventful and she received an expensive education, but was expelled from school for inappropriate behavior.
On April 9, 1881, after a one-day trial, Billy the Kid is found guilty of murdering William Brady, the sheriff of Lincoln County, New Mexico and is sentenced to hang. There is no doubt that Billy the Kid did indeed shoot the sheriff, though he had done so in the context of the bloody Lincoln County War, a battle between two powerful groups of ranchers and businessmen fighting for economic control of Lincoln County.
On April 8, 2005, Eric Rudolph agrees to plead guilty to a series of bombings, including the fatal bombing at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, in order to avoid the death penalty. He later cited his anti-abortion and anti-homosexual views as motivation for the bombings.