A hold-up man who snatched $632 from the till of the Red Rooster restaurant in Toronto in February, 1962, got clean away until a traffic cop pulled him in for a broken taillight. The hold-up man, Ronald Turpin, 29, shot the cop, Frederick Nash, and then tried to escape in Nashs police car. He was caught almost immediately.
Turpin was convicted of murder and sentenced to die by hanging.
Arthur Lucas, 54, a black American, was also awaiting execution at the same time. In November 1961, he travelled from Detroit to Toronto to murder Therland Crater, who was scheduled to give evidence in a drugs trial along with his girl friend, Carolyn Newman.
Lucas returned to Detroit after the double-murder but was arrested next day, and extradited to Canada before he was convicted. The Canadian Government held an emergency meeting on December 4th, 1961 to decide whether to commute the two death sentences, but the motion was thrown out. Accordingly, at two minutes after midnight on Tuesday, December 11th, 1962, Turpin and Lucas were taken to the execution chamber at Torontos Don Jail and hanged.
Other Canadian killers were more fortunate. Between 1957 and 1963 John Diefenbakers Conservative government commuted 52 out of 66 death sentences, indicating that the end of the death penalty was near. When Turpin was told that he and Lucas would probably be the last people hanged in Canada, he replied, Some consolation.
Capital punishment for murder was abolished in 1976, and for all other offences under military law in 1987. Worldwide Hangings from True Crime Library.
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