Hanging a Black Man in Kentucky

Public Executions Bring Out the Worst in People

After Bethea was hanged but before his heart had stopped beating, several spectators tore scraps of cloth from the hood over Bethea's head as souvenirs. The carnival-like conduct of its citizenry convinced Kentucky to conduct future executions out of public view. Researchers om the Death Penalty Study suspected that those who support capital punishment in the abstract would disdain public executions. Therefore a set of opinions was developed to measure a belief system that disdains public executions. Although willing to sentence a man to death, Soft Abstract Supporters of the death penalty were expected to show disdain for public executions.


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