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Saturday, January 7, 2017

A Murderer’s Death Dance.

Little Murders
(From New York Sun February 10, 1888)


A Murderer’s Death Dance.
      
Fiddling and Singing the Night Before His Execution.


The Utica, N.Y., Feb. 9—Clement Arthur Day was executed in Utica jail at 10:24 ½ o’clock this morning in the presence of 24 citizens, including all officials. He was declared dead in 11 ½ minutes. His neck was broken. Before he left his cell, he declared that he had nothing further to say to the public. On his knees, in the presence of the Rev. E. Owen, his spiritual adviser, he declared himself guiltless of premeditated murder. Four drams of croton oil, sufficient to kill four men, were found in his cell within a week. His father declared he would never be executed.

Day clapped his hands after the death warrant was read, and smiled. On walking over the ice in the jail yard he laughed heartily over the falls of the sheriff, Rev. E Owen, a newspaper reporter, and Special Deputy Burke, exclaiming: “That’s four of them.” He yawned while his legs were being strapped on the scaffold. He shook hands and kissed Deputy Burke, and assisted Deputy Ballow in adjusting the rope about his neck, He smiled as the cap was drawn over his face and the smile was still there when the body was cut down.

The crime for which Day was hanged was the murder of his paramour, Johanna Rosa Cross. The crime was committed on the banks of the Black River canal the 9th of last June. Day’s father, a lock tender, was the only witness of the tragedy. Day was jealous of his mistress and feared she would leave him. She had tried many times to get his permission for her to visit her mother, but he always refused, saying she would never return. The day before the tragedy she received a letter from her mother saying she was dying and asking the daughter to come to her. She wrote a reply to the letter and she and Day started down the bank of the canal toward Boonville, where they intended to mail it. They had gone but a short distance when Day turned on her and struck her with a butcher knife. She fell and he continue cutting until eight distinct cuts were made, one of which entered the heart and another the abdomen. The father informed the authorities of the crime, and after spending a day in the woods the murderer gave himself up. In the interviews with him after his arrest not a particle of regret for what he had done could be drawn from him. He pretended to have been converted and to be penitent, but his conversation and instincts were vulgar and beastly to the end. The condemned man passed the last night of his life on earth without displaying any nervousness. On the contrary, he seem to enjoy his violin, and sang and danced with jail officials and others with apparent unconcern for his future until 12:30 this morning. He then went to bed and slept until 6:30.


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