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Willie McGee, convicted of rape, was electrocuted early this morning after three Eliot House residents had made a long-distance call to Mississippi Governor Fielding Wright in a vain effort to obtain a pardon for the condemned man.
McGee's execution came at 1:01 a.m. (EST), five and one-half years after the crime. Last minute appeals to Chief Justice Fred Vinson and Justice Hugo Black had failed to gain a stay of the execution.
Bruce A. Woodward '52, Douglas M. Saxe '53, and Phelps Hunt '48 put through a call to Governor Wright late last night. Woodward spoke to the Governor for three minutes, arguing that an innocent man was being murdered with the full knowledge of the law.
The Governor answered hotly that the Supreme Court had decided upon the matter and the affair was no longer in his hands. Repeated arguments from Woodward brought only the same reply and an eventual breaking off of the call.
The 37 year old Negro, three times convicted and condemned in a case that attracted world-wide attention, was taken to Laurel, Mississippi, at 11:05 p.m.
A priest then spent an hour with him while state police and guards waited nearby. A little before one, they marched McGee to the electric chair and strapped him in. The switch was thrown two minutes later.
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