: This portrait of John Downing was housed in the death chamber at the Ohio Penitentiary alongside the photographs of hundreds of other prisoners who were executed in the state of Ohio. These pictures were displayed at the penitentiary until its closure in 1979. The caption at the bottom of the photograph reads, “No. 170, John Downing of Franklin County, electrocuted March 10th, 1933 for the Murder of Mrs. Mauree Bonzo of Franklin County, Ohio.”
On October 25, 1932 Downing visited the home of Daniel J. Bonzo, the Parole and Record Clerk at the Ohio Penitentiary. Once inside Downing struck Bonzo’s wife, Mauree, over the head with a bottle, killing her. Later, during his confession, Downing stated that he and Mrs. Bonzo had been very good friends and that she was like a mother to him; he said that he did not know why he killed her.
Years earlier Downing had plead guilty to the murder and attempted robbery of another woman, a Cincinnati resident named Allean Williams. He had been sentenced to life in prison for this murder but had been pardoned and released on parole after serving just seven years of his sentence. The circumstances behind this pardon were hotly investigated and contested after Downing committed his second murder. Before his convictions, prison term, and execution, he had worked as a carpenter. He was electrocuted at the age of 43.
View on Ohio Memory.
: AL08229 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
: Franklin County (Ohio); Columbus (Ohio)