Rainey Bethea

Born Oct 16, 1909

Rainey Bethea was the last person to be publicly executed in the United States. Bethea, who was a black man, confessed to the rape and murder of a 70-year-old white woman named Lischia Edwards, and after being convicted of her rape, he was publicly hanged in Owensboro, Kentucky. Mistakes in performing the hanging and the surrounding media circus contributed to the end of public executions in the United States.… Read More

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1909 Birth Born in 1909.
1919 10 Years Old Born in Roanoke, Virginia, Bethea was an African-American orphaned after the death of his mother in 1919 and his father in 1926.


1933 24 Years Old Little is known of his time before he arrived in Owensboro in 1933. … Read More
His first brush with the law was in 1935, when he was charged with breach of the peace, for which he was fined $20, then in April of the same year, he was caught stealing two purses from the Vogue Beauty Shop. … Read More
He was unable to pay the $100 fine and remained incarcerated in the Daviess County Jail until April 18, 1936.
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