The last public execution in France with the guillotine
Born in Germany in 1908, Eugene Weidman began to engage in theft from a young age and did not even abandon his criminal habits as an adult. While serving a five-year term in prison for robbery, he met future partners in crime, Roger Million and Jean Blanc. After liberation, all three began to work together, abducting and robbing tourists around Paris.
June 17, 1938. Eugene Weidman shows police a cave in the forest of Fontainebleau in France, where he killed nurse Janine Keller.
They robbed and killed a young dancer from New York, a chauffeur, a nurse, a theater producer, an anti-Nazi activist, and a real estate agent.
The staff of the national security department eventually got on the trail of Weidman. One day, when he returned home, he found two police officers waiting at the door.Weidman shot at the officers from a pistol, wounded them, but nevertheless managed to push the criminal to the ground and neutralize him with a hammer at the entrance.
France was the last of the EU countries, which at the constitution level prohibited the use of the death penalty.
In France, under the old regime, the regicides were executed through quartering. Rowing, hanging by the rib and other painful punishments were also widespread. In 1792, the guillotine was introduced, and later most of the death penalty, except by the verdict of the military court (in this case was the usual shooting), were carried out through the guillotine (in the French Penal Code of 1810, article 12 says that head "). As early as January 21, 1793, Louis XVI was executed on the guillotine. This machine was not the original invention of Dr. Giyoten, who proposed to introduce it as an instrument of the death penalty, nor his teacher, Dr. Louis; A similar machine was used before in Scotland, where it was called the "Scottish Maiden." In France, it was also called the Virgin or even the Forest of Justice. The aim of the invention was to create a painless and quick method of execution.After the head was cut off, the executioner raised it and showed it to the crowd. It was believed that the severed head could see for about ten seconds. Thus, a man’s head was raised so that he could see before the death how the crowd was laughing at him.
In the 19th and 20th centuries, public executions took place on boulevards or near prisons, where a large crowd always gathered.
As a result of the sensational trial, Weidman and Zillion were sentenced to death, and Blanc - to 20 months in prison. On June 16, 1939, French President Albert Lebrun rejected the petition for pardon for Weidman and replaced the death sentence with a death sentence for Milon.
On the morning of June 17, 1939, Wademan met on the square near the Saint-Pierre prison in Versailles, where the guillotine and the whistle of the crowd were waiting for him.
Among those who wanted to see the penalty of the audience was the future famous British actor Christopher Lee, who at the time was 17 years old.
Weidmann was placed in the guillotine and the main executioner of France, Jules Henri Defourne, without hesitation, lowered the blade.
The crowd present at the execution behaved very unrestrainedly and noisily, many of the spectators broke through the cordon to moisten Weidman's handkerchiefs in blood as souvenirs. The scene was so terrible that French President Albert Lebrun completely banned public executions, arguing that instead of deterring crime, they contribute to the awakening of the basest instincts of people.
This was the last public execution in France, because of the indecent excitement of the crowd and scandals with the press, it was ordered to continue to execute executions in prison.
The last execution through the cutting off of the head with a guillotine occurred in Marseilles, on the board of Giscard d’Esten, on September 10, 1977 (only three people were executed during his seven-year term - 1974-1981 -). Of Tunisian origin, he was called Hamid Jandoubi; he kidnapped and killed his former concubine, whom he had previously forced into prostitution, and before he died he tortured for a long time.This was the last execution not only in France, but in the whole of Western Europe. Francois Mitterrand, shortly after taking office in 1981, introduced a full moratorium on the death penalty, which was given the status of law.
On February 20, 2007, France imposed a constitutional ban on the death penalty (828 deputies of the National Assembly and senators voted for this amendment to Article 66 of the constitution, a total of 26 against). France, thus, became the last of the EU countries, at the level of the constitution banned the use of the death penalty.