Donald Eberle photograph   Save
Donald Eberle photograph
Description: Before its closure, the Ohio Penitentiary housed the photographs of hundreds of prisoners who were condemned to death throughout the state’s history. These images were displayed within the east annex of the facility, where death row and the execution chamber were located. This portrait of 30-year-old Donald Eberle is one of them. Eberle carried out dozens of robberies in Cleveland and Chicago in the mid-1930s. In one such instance, he and two accomplices, John Pleyer and Helen Harmon, held up a Cleveland butcher shop, resulting in the fatal shooting of Albert Wesosky, the butcher’s son. Both Pleyer and Eberle were sentenced to death for their role in the murder. The caption at the bottom of Eberle’s photograph reads: “No. 199, Donald Eberle of Cuyahoga County, Electrocuted June 23rd, 1936, for the Murder of Albert Wesosky at Cleveland, Ohio.” In 1885, the Ohio Penitentiary became the site of all executions for prisoners on death row; formerly, executions had taken place in the county where the crime was committed. In 1896, the Ohio General Assembly mandated that electrocution replace hanging as the state’s only form of capital punishment. Altogether there were 315 people who were electrocuted at the Ohio Penitentiary, their deaths occurring between 1897 and 1963. Eberle was the 199th prisoner in Ohio to be executed in this manner. View on Ohio Memory.
Image ID: AL08253
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); Portrait photography
Places: Cuyahoga County (Ohio); Cleveland (Ohio); Franklin County (Ohio); Columbus (Ohio)