Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Arsenic Anna :The True Story of Anna Marie Hahn

Death Chamber

Anna Marie Hahn was transferred to the Ohio State Penitentiary on December 1, 1937.   Her attorneys kept the court system busy with appeals and her March 10 execution date came and went.   Her case passed through the Ohio court system several times before being taken to the United States Supreme Court.   Nonetheless, they agreed with the state of Ohio and refused to block her execution.

On Tuesday Dec. 6, 1938, Ohio Governor Martin L. Davey made a formal statement, in which he refused to interfere with the decision of the courts .  Later that day, accounts on local radio, by Special Dispatch from The Cincinnati Inquirer, reported that Annas execution was scheduled for 8 oclock the next evening.

Governor Martin L. Davey
Governor Martin L. Davey (courtesy of the Kent Historical Society)
The following day Anna spent much of her time writing four separate letters, which she later handed to her attorneys.   As the clock grew nearer her emotions became more difficult to control and she was an emotional wreck by the time prison authorities arrived to walk her down to the death chamber.   

Oh heavenly father!   Oh God!   Oh God!   I cant go!   I wont go! she cried out, according to The Cincinnati Crime Book.   She was unable to walk to the chamber on her own and had to rely on the guards to help her along. 

As they made their way into the death chamber Anna passed out and collapsed to the floor. Officials quickly revived her with an ammonia capsule and then strapped her into the chair.   Dont do this to me, she continued to cry out.   Oh, no, no, no. Warden Woodard, dont let them do this to me.   Tears began to role down the Warden Woodards face as he solemnly replied, I am sorry, but we cant help it. 

Upon hearing the wardens words Anna began to scream, Please dont.   Oh, my boy.   Think of my boy.   Wont someone, wont anyone, come and do something for me?   Isnt there anybody to help me?   Anyone?   Anyone?   Is nobody going to help me?

As prison officials let the clock click down, in the off chance that the Governor might call, Anna called out for Father John Sullivan, the prison chaplain.   Father, come close, she said.   Together the two began to recite the Lords Prayer, but just halfway through the switch was thrown and Annas body jerked and convulsed as the electricity flowed through it.   Anna Marie Hahn was officially pronounced dead at 8:13 p.m.  

Ohio State Penitentiary electric chair
Ohio State Penitentiary electric chair
The Ohio Historical Society reports that on December 8, 1938, Anna Marie Hahns body was buried in unsanctified ground at the Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery in Columbus, Ohio.  

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