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Governor Rockefeller Spares Life of "Capeman" Killer Salvatore Agron

Feb. 7, 1962 - New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller today spared the life of 18-year-old Salvatore Agron (pictured in 1959), who had been scheduled to die in the electric chair for the gang killing of two 16-year-old boys in a New York playground two years ago. Agron, known as the Cape Man or Dracula because he had worn a red-lined nurse’s cape on the night of the killings, had been in the death house for more than a year. The Governor signed an order commuting the youth’s death sentence to life imprisonment. Mr. Rockefeller did not express any views on the case. The Governor said the primary reason for his action was the appeals for mercy made by District Attorney Frank S. Hogan and General Sessions Judge Gerald P. Culkin, who had presided at the trial. The commutation means that Agron will have to serve a minimum of 40 years before he is eligible for parole. Some criminal law experts expressed doubt that he would ever be released, considering his history of mental disorder. When Agron was told today that Governor Rockefeller had commuted his death sentence, he asked for and received permission to write the Governor a letter of appreciation. He said, “I want to thank the Governor and tell him I won’t let him down.”

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