Who can tell how anyone will react when faced with the hangman’s rope? Walter Dubuc and his accomplice in crime, Harold Carpenter, reacted in completely opposite ways when they were hanged together for murder at Walla Walla in Washington state on Friday, April 15th, 1932.

Dubuc, who claimed to be 16 but was thought to be 17, was led by two guards to the gallows “sobbing and moaning, ‘Don’t let them hang me.’” His last words, “Oh, Jesus, save me. Oh, Jesus…” were cut off as the black cap was dropped over his head.

Carpenter, by contrast, walked unassisted to his doom. The only emotion he showed was to sneer at the 50 witnesses who had come to watch his execution.

At 12.27 a.m., three guards pressed buttons, only one of which was connected to the traps. The prisoners were left hanging for nearly 15 minutes before being pronounced dead. It was the only double execution in the state’s history.

The two men, and a woman accomplice, Ethel Willis, had been found guilty of killing Peter Jacobsen, an 85-year-old farmer. Their statements suggested that Dubuc struck the farmer and then fled, while Carpenter bludgeoned the farmer to death with the butt of a rifle. In the death cell the men made another statement claiming that their intention had been only to rob their victim and that his death was “all a mistake.” Right up to half an hour before his hanging Dubuc was convinced his life would be spared. Ethel Willis, mother of two children, was sentenced to life imprisonment.