Sunday, November 19, 2006

Used Noose Makes News

A granddaughter of Illinois sheriff James Pritchard wants custody of a hangman's noose held by the Franklin County Historic Preservation Society. The noose was used in the 1928 hanging of gangster Charlie Birger, and was lent to the Society by one of Pritchard's daughters. Society president Robert S. Rea wants to make sure that, if the relic leaves his museum, it goes to the right party.

While the woman signed the agreement, her siblings through their descendants could stake a claim to the hangman's noose. The county could also have a valid claim, since the sheriff was on the county payroll and the county undertook the hanging of the Prohibition era bootlegger, arguably the most notorious criminal in Southern Illinois history.

"After the hanging, hangman Phil Hanna, presented the noose and a few feet of rope to Sheriff Pritchard. If he gave it to him in his role as sheriff, the county could have a claim since Pritchard was a county employee," Rea said. [Link]

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