Have you ever wondered what the court decree looks like which sentences a man to death? How does it read? What words have to go into it. How does it feel to read it? Below is a word-for-word copy of the actual document which sentenced Virginius Carter to the electric chair on Feb. 10, 1942.
14th day October Term
Oct 21, 1941
State of Indiana
Come now the parties and comes also the jury heretofore impaneled herein and the evidence in this cause having been concluded, argument of counsel is now had, and the same being concluded the Court instructs the Jury in writing after which the Jury in charge of Mathew Connelton, a sworn officer of this Court, now retired to their Jury Room to deliberate of their verdict.
And comes now such Jury into open Court and returns its verdict herein into open Court, which verdict reads as follows, to-wit:
“We, the Jury, find the defendant, Virginius Carter, guilty of murder in the first degree as charged in the first count of the indictment, and fix his punishment at 1st. degree murder and that he suffer the death penalty. (Signed) Paul Kaiser, Foreman”
And now the Court accepts such verdict and by order of the Court the same is filed with the Clerk of this Court in open Court in the presence of such Jury, and the Court thereupon pronounce the following judgment:
No. 4584 Crime
State of Indiana
MURDER IN THE FIRST DEGREE
Come now the State of Indiana, by Lester G. Baker, Prosecuting Attorney within and for the Seventh Judicial Circuit of Indiana, of which Judicial Circuit the County of Dearborn forms a part, and comes also the defendant herein, Virginius Carter, in person and by Willard M. Dean, his attorney, and in custody of the Sheriff of Dearborn County, William A. Winegard and Woodrow W. Woods, Officer of the State Police, and the Court finds that the defendant, Virginius Carter, is thirty-three (33) years of age, and that said defendant is guilty of the crime charged in the first count of the indictment herein, namely: – MURDER IN THE FIRST DEGREE.
And thereupon the Court informs such defendant above named that the jury herein has returned a verdict of guilty of murder in the first degree, as charged in the first count of the indictment herein, against him and has fixed the penalty therefore at death. And the said defendant above named is now asked in open Court, if he has any legal cause or reason to show why judgment should not be pronounced against him upon such verdict of such jury herein; and no legal cause or reason being shown.,
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED BY THE COURT that Virginius Carter, the defendant, is guilty of murder in the first degree, as charged in the first count of the indictment herein, and that said defendant above named for such offense by him committed, do suffer death; that the said defendant above named be taken into custody by the Sheriff of Dearborn County, Indiana, and after a space of two weeks be taken by said Sheriff to the Indiana State Prison, at Michigan City, Indiana, and there safely be delivered to the Warden of said Prison, there to be safely kept until Tuesday, the 10th day of February, 1942, and that before sunrise on said day be taken by said Warden of said Prison, or in the case of his death, disability or absence, by his Deputy, to a room inside the walls of said Prison arranged for such purpose, and there be put to death by having caused to pass through his body continuance of such current through the body of such defendant above named until such defendant above named is dead. All of which shall be done by the Warden.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, ADJUGED AND DECREED BY THE COURT that this judgment shall be held and construed to be full and sufficient authority for the doing and performance of any and all acts and things on the part of the Sherriff of Dearborn County, Indiana, and the Warden of the Indiana State Prison at Michigan City, Indiana, that may be requisite for the carrying hereof into execution.
The Sheriff of Dearborn County, Indiana, and the Warden of the Indiana State Prison at Michigan City, Indiana, are hereby charged with the due execution of the above and fore going judgment.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, ADJUDED AND DECREED BY THE COURT that a duly certified copy of the above and foregoing judgment, under the hand of the Clerk and the Seal of this Court do issue forthwith to the Warden of the Indiana State Prison at Michigan City, Indiana, which copy when so certified, shall be to said warden full warrant and authority in this behalf, and said Warden shall in due time, return the same with his doings thereon to this Court.
All of which is finally ordered, adjudged and decreed by the Court.