On April 26, 1913, thirteen-year-old Mary Phagan is found sexually molested and murdered in the basement of an Atlanta pencil factory where she worked. Her murder later led to one of the most disgraceful episodes of bigotry, injustice, and mob violence in American history.
On April 25, 1989, James Richardson walks out of a Florida prison 21 years after being wrongfully convicted of killing his seven children. Special prosecutor Janet Reno agreed to the release after evidence showed that the conviction resulted from misconduct by the prosecutor. In addition, neighbor Betsy Reese had confessed to the crime to a nursing home employee.
On April 24, 1922, Colin Ross was executed in Australia for the murder of 12-year-old Alma Tirtschke. Ross was one of the first criminals in Australia to be convicted based on forensic evidence. On December 30, 1921, she had been reported missing in Melbourne. The next day her naked body was found in Gun Alley.
On April 23, 1969, Sirhan Sirhan is sentenced to death penalty after being convicted in the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy. In 1972, Sirhan's sentence was commuted to life in prison after California abolished the death penalty.
George "Baby Face" Nelson
On April 22, 1934, George "Baby Face" Nelson kills Special Agent W. Carter Baum during an FBI raid in northern Wisconsin. Nelson was holed up with notorious bank robber John Dillinger's gang at the Little Bohemia resort but didn't follow the planned escape route. As he was stealing a car to escape, he shot several agents.
Robert Alton Harris
On April 21, 1992, Robert Alton Harris is executed in California’s gas chamber after 13 years on death row. This was California's first execution since former Chief Justice Rose Bird and two other California state Supreme Court justices, Joseph Grodin and Cruz Reynoso, had been rejected by California voters. From 1979 to 1986, the Bird court had reversed 64 out of the 68 death penalty cases on appeal.
Columbine Memorial Library
On April 20, 1999, two teenage gunmen kill 13 people in a shooting spree at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. At about 11:20 a.m., Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, dressed in long trench coats, began shooting students outside the school before moving inside to continue their rampage. By the time SWAT team officers finally entered the school at about 3:00 p.m., Klebold and Harris had killed 12 fellow students and a teacher, and had wounded another 23 people. Then, around noon, they turned their guns on themselves and committed suicide.
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