: 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. This photograph shows 31-year-old John Pleyer, the 201st prisoner in Ohio to be executed in this manner.
Pleyer’s portrait was displayed in the east annex of the Ohio Penitentiary along with hundreds of other photographs of prisoners who were executed by the state of Ohio. These were housed in the same area of the penitentiary as death row and the execution chamber itself. The caption at the bottom of Pleyer’s photograph reads: “No. 201, John Pleyer of Cuyahoga County, Electrocuted August 5th, 1936 for the Murder of Albert Wesosky at Cleveland, Ohio.” Wesosky’s murder occurred during a holdup at his father’s butcher shop carried out by Pleyer and two other accomplices, Donald Eberle and Helen Harmon. Both Pleyer and Eberle were executed for their role in the crime.
View on Ohio Memory.
: AL08255 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
: Cuyahoga County (Ohio); Cleveland (Ohio); Franklin County (Ohio); Columbus (Ohio)