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Elizabeth Duncan Executed at San Quentin

Aug. 8, 1962 - Mrs. Elizabeth Duncan (pictured in 1959), a jealous mother who was convicted of hiring two laborers to kill her daughter-in-law in 1958, was executed today in the gas chamber of San Quentin Prison. She was the fourth woman to be put to death by the State of California, and the first since 1955. Mrs. Duncan was led into the gas chamber five minutes after her son, Frank, and her attorneys had failed to obtain a stay of execution. The two hired slayers, Augustino Baldonado and Luis Moya, were put to death in the gas chamber three hours after Mrs. Duncan’s execution. Mrs. Duncan, 58, spent the night at San Quentin after being driven 500 miles to the prison from the California women’s prison at Corona. She slept until 5:30 a.m. with the aid of mild sedatives. Before being escorted through the door into the gas chamber, she told Warden Fred H. Dickson: “I am innocent. I want to see my son.” Her son was not present, however. She was placed in the execution chair, and straps were adjusted. The guards left the chamber, and the door was sealed. Cyanide pellets were dropped into an acid container under her chair at 10:04 a.m. Eight minutes later, a prison doctor outside the chamber, monitoring an electrical mechanism, pronounced her dead. Mrs. Duncan was described by Warden Dickson as “cooperative and in good control of herself” in the final hours before her death.

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