(KTXL) — Folsom State Prison was one of two California state prisons to house a death row and saw 93 men hang at its gallows over a 42-year period.
The first cell block at Folsom was completed in 1878 and the first prisoners were transferred from San Quinten to Folsom in July 1880.
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Executions at Folsom would not begin until Dec. 13, 1895 after an amendment to capital punishment law by the legislature moved executions from the county level to the state level only.
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said that there was no rule as to where judges would send men to be hanged, but that Folsom was the place where most repeat offenders would be sent for execution.
The first man to be hung at Folsom Prison was Chin Hane, who was convicted of the shooting death of Sacramento business owner Lee Gong on May 31, 1892, according to Folsom’s 93: The lives and Crimes of Folsom Prison’s Executed Men by April Moore.
In her book, Moore describes Folsom’s Condemned Row as “… a long narrow room of grey granite. Two rows of solitary cells lined the room. At the end of the room, thirteen steps led upward to the gallows.”
One notorious person to be hung at Folsom Prison was Adolph Julius Weber, who at the age of 20 killed his entire family and burned his family home down after they suspected him of robbing a local bank.
Weber was the eldest son of Julius Weber, then owner of Auburn Brewery, and Mary Weber in Auburn, California.
Weber robbed the Placer County Bank in Auburn on May 26, 1904, walking out of the bank with $5,000 in a disguise.
Over the coming months, his family became suspicious that Weber had stolen the money and on Nov. 10, 1904 at around 7 a.m. the Weber home was up in flames.
Weber was seen several times running back and forth between town and the burning home and at one point he broke a window at the home, cutting his hand, and threw a sack filled with a dirty pair of pants into the flames.
A court found Weber guilty of his accused crimes and on Sep. 27, 1906 he was hanged at Folsom Prison for the murder of his mother, father, brother and sister. He is believed to be the first mass murderer in California history.
The final man to be hung at Folsom Prison was Charles McGuire on Dec. 3, 1937.
McGuire was charged with the killing of Max Krall at around 6 p.m. on Dec. 20, 1936 in a business at 1720 L Street in Sacramento, according to court records.
After shooting Krall twice in the back with a stolen pistol, McGuire is reported to have boarded a train at Elvas Junction with acquaintance Maynard M. Berry.
The two men stopped in Roseville for a meal before getting on either the same or a different eastbound train.
While on the train McGuire took out the pistol and showed it to Berry, who suggested that McGuire get rid of the two empty shells. McGuire then told Berry about killing Krall in a holdup.
During a stop in Colfax, McGuire threw the gun away and Berry informed a person at the depot about the killing of Krall by McGuire.
Upon arriving in Gold Run, an officer boarded the train arrested the two men, retrieved the gun in Colfax and took McGuire to the district attorney’s office in Sacramento where he confessed to the killing.
On Aug. 14, 1937, a verdict of murder in the first degree was found against McGuire by a jury and the court gave him the death sentence.
Executions ceased at Folsom Prison as the state legislature replaced hanging with lethal gas as the method of capital punishment on Aug. 27, 1937, according to the CDCR.