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Execution at Sing Sing

Aug. 16, 1963 - Eddie Lee Mays, 34, was executed in the electric chair at Sing Sing last night for the 1961 Harlem holdup murder of a bar patron, Maria Marini, 31, who had been slow in surrendering her purse. Accompanied by the Protestant chaplain, the Rev. Luther K. Hannun, Mays entered the death chamber at 10:01 pm and was strapped into the electric chair. He made no final statement to the prison warden or other witnesses before being electrocuted. The power surged, and he was pronounced dead at 10:04 p.m. Earlier, May had said he would rather “fry” than spend his life in prison. He was the 695th person to be electrocuted in New York since the state ended hangings in 1890 and introduced the electric chair to the world. Mays, who had served one term for murder in Maryland, was arrested March 28, 1961, in a Bronx rooming house with other members of a gang that admitted pulling 52 holdups in six weeks in Manhattan, the Bronx, and New Jersey. Five days earlier, he and two accomplices had held up the Friendly Tavern, at 1403 Fifth Avenue in East Harlem. Mays had ordered the owner and the patrons to put their cash on the bar. However, Miss Marini was slow to comply, enraging Mays. After opening her purse and finding it empty, Mays said “I ought to kill you,” put his .38-caliber revolver to her forehead, and pulled the trigger, killing her instantly. The tavern stickup netted $275.


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