Russell Swiger portrait   Save
Russell Swiger portrait
Description: Before the Ohio Penitentiary’s closing in 1979, the execution chamber within the facility housed and displayed photographs of many of the prisoners sentenced to death throughout the state’s history. This portrait of Russell Swiger is one of them. He was convicted for robbery and murder. The caption at the bottom of his photograph reads, “Russell Swiger, of Muskingum County, Electrocuted July 22nd, 1935, for the murder of Harold Fleming of Zanesville, Ohio.” Swiger was 21 years old at the time of his execution. From 1897 to 1963 there were a total of 315 people in the state of Ohio, both men and women, who were legally put to death on the electric chair, or “Old Sparky” as it was often referred. Before this time the main method of execution had been hanging. However, the electric chair was considered to be a more humane way to carry out death sentences. So in 1896 the Ohio General Assembly passed a bill mandating that electrocution was to replace hanging as the state’s sole method of execution. It was not until 2001 that lethal injection replaced electrocution as Ohio’s only method of execution. View on Ohio Memory.
Image ID: AL08222
Subjects: Ohio History--State and Local Government--Law; Ohio History--State and Local Government--Corrections; Capital punishment--Ohio--History; Electrocution; Death row; Ohio Penitentiary (Columbus, Ohio)
Places: Muskingum County (Ohio); Zanesville (Ohio); Columbus (Ohio)