Caryl Chessman. The “Red Light Bandit”. Background. Born: May 27, 1921 Grew up in St. Joseph, Michigan Parents: Hallie Lillian (née Cottle) and Whittier Serl Chessman In and out of jail most of his life Age 27 when arrested for suspicion of being the “Red Light Bandit” in Los Angeles
The “Red Light Bandit”
Executed by asphyxiation-gas at San Quentin Prison on May 2, 1960
One of the most famous executions in history
I am not guilty. I am sure a future generation will listen.
A deep gasp, his head came up for an instant, dropped forward again. After two or three deep breaths, which seemed something like sobs, a trembling set up throughout the body. Along the line of his broad shoulders, down the arms to his fingers, I could see the tremor run.
Then I saw his pale face grow suddenly paler, though I had not thought that it could be after his 12 years in prison. A little saliva came from his lips, spotted the white shirt that a condemned man wears for his last appearance. Even more color drained from his face and the furrows in his head smoothed out a little. And I knew he was dead.”
Reporter Gave a description of what was happening when Caryl Chessman was in the gas chamber…