The Long-forgotten Context of Charles Sberna's 1939 Electrocution
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Was Charles Sberna wrongly convicted of the murder of Police Officer John H.A. Wilson? Was an innocent man sent to the electric chair in 1939? What reasons could authorities have had for rushing Sberna into Sing Sing Prison's death device?
Prison Warden Lewis Lawes wrote, "If I had commanded the power to stay an execution, [he] would be alive today. No one of us ever doubted his words..."
Columnist Walter Winchell commented, "For the first time in New York history, there is practically a certainty that an innocent man was executed in the electric chair."
'Wrongly Executed?' provides the details and historical background of the Sberna case. The story is a complex and controversial one, involving celebrity attorneys, Mafia bosses, violent political radicals, media giants and ruthless establishment figures, all set in a period in which Americans sought stability and government-imposed order after years of political upheaval, economic depression and Prohibition Era lawlessness.