From 1608-2002, Louisiana has only executed 658 (ProCon). There have been several different methods from hanging, the electric chair, and now lethal injection. On November 28, 1942, the first woman was executed by the electric chair in the state of Louisiana. Her name was Toni Jo Henry and she suffered in many ways throughout her life. From losing her mother and enduring an abusive father, to working in a brothel where men used her as they pleased, to having her husband locked up in jail with no way out. Does that excuse her killing an innocent man?
and through the loss of her mother and enduring her abusive father, she ended up in a brothel where she met her husband. Through marrying him, she stuck by his side even through murder. That brought on committing murder herself and ended in her death.
Toni Jo Henry was born Annie Beatrice McQuiston in Shreveport, Louisiana on January 3, 1916. Her parents were James Leslie Mcquiston and Ella Beatrice Mcquiston. She was the third of five children. Her mother died of tuberculosis when she was six years old (Toni). She worked in a macaroni factory at the age of thirteen. After that she worked in a brothel, a house for prostitutes where men go to have sex (Clark). “I was awful ashamed of the things I did there,” she said. “But they wouldn’t let me quit. It’s that kind of a racket.” (Gribben). Toni Jo was a popular girl there because she was very pretty. She was small and petite with jet black hair (Gribben).
In 1939 she met Claude ‘Cowboy’ Henry. He was a not-so-lucky prized fighter who would go to the brothel Toni Jo worked at. They fell in love and got married on November 25, 1939. They honeymooned in California and Claude helped Toni off of her ...
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...make something of your life”. According to a prison officer, Claude was crying and Toni Jo was cheerful and bright (Clark). On the day of the execution, she was very sad because she found out they had to shave her head. They allowed her to wear a scarf on her head and she wore a black dress with black pumps. She descended the stairs with Father Wayne and they let her hold a crucifix in her hand. They asked her if she had any last words and she replied, “No”. They flipped the switch and Toni Jo Henry died at 12:12 p.m. at age 26. Her last request was that they let keep the crucifix in her left hand at burial. Father Wayne officiated her funeral and she is buried in Lake Charles today. As for Burks, his execution happened on March 23, 1943 despite the fact that Toni Jo tried to take all of the blame for the murder. He is buried in an unmarked grave (Clark).
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