4 World Leaders & Their Killers' Brutal Punishments

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With the media throwing Jodie Foster a coming out party this week, John Hinckley's name has been in the news. The man who shot President Reagan has been featured here on mental_floss before, when we compared his sentence to the punishments of others who also took down heads of state. Here are four examples where unsupervised parental visits were not allowed.

1. Leader: King Charles I
Killer: Oliver Cromwell

When the monarchy was restored in 1660, Cromwell was already dead, probably of malaria. But his corpse was exhumed for his part in the execution of King Charles I. On January 30, 1661 "“ the twelfth anniversary of Charles' death "“ Cromwell was posthumously hanged, then drawn & quartered. For good measure, his severed head was displayed on a pole outside Westminster Abbey until 1685.

2. Leader: Abe Lincoln
Killer: John Wilkes Booth

booth.jpgTwelve days after gunning down Honest Abe, Booth was found hiding inside Richard Garrett's barn outside Bowling Green, Virginia. The barn was set ablaze and Booth was shot in the spine. His body was buried inside a prison cell and twice exhumed for re-identification amid rampant "Booth Lives!" speculation. Four accomplices were hanged, including the woman whose tavern Booth visited while on the lam. And Samuel Mudd, the doctor who treated Booth's broken leg, received a life sentence, though he was pardoned by Andrew Johnson four years later.

3. Leader: William McKinley
Killer: Leon Czolgosz

leon.JPG About 45 days after fatally wounding President McKinley, Czolgosz took a seat in the electric chair. His trial lasted less than nine hours, from jury selection to conviction. His corpse was doused with sulfuric acid, which completely dissolved the body.

4. Leader: King Louis XV
(Would-be) Killer: Robert-François Damiens

Planning a school assembly to discourage today's kids from becoming tomorrow's assassins? This is the example your local community theater troupe should re-enact. I'll let the Wikipedians describe the horrors that met Monsieur Damiens, who made a half-hearted attempt on the life of Louis XV in 1757:

"He was first tortured with red-hot pincers; his hand, holding the knife used in the attempted murder, was burnt using sulphur; molten wax, lead, and boiling oil were poured into his wounds. Horses were then harnessed to his arms and legs for his dismemberment. Damiens' joints would not break; after some hours, representatives of the Parlement ordered the executioner and his aides to cut Damiens' joints. Damiens was then dismembered, to the applause of the crowd. His trunk, apparently still living, was then burnt at the stake."

December 16, 2007 - 5:44am
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