A Hanging Case in Kentucky

In December last, Charles Cushing was murdered in Lexington, by William Wright; the offence that provoked the fatal shot being a slight insult to the assailant’s wife. On the 15th inst., the prisoner, who had lain in prison from that time, was brought out for trial, and was convicted of murder in the first degree! Cushing kept a confectionary, which the wife of the prisoner entered in the dusk of the evening, in presence of several witnesses, for a purchase. Cushing mistook her for another person, placed his hand on her shoulder, saying, “How are you, pretty?” In an instant he discovered his mistake, and apologized, but the lady left in a rage, and soon after her husband and she returned to the shop, when the unfortunate young man was shot down in his tracks?

When the jury had returned, after only twenty minutes’ absence, and had announced their fatal decree, a most distressing scene was witnessed by the crowd. The prisoner, entirely overcome, let his head fall upon his breast, while his wife, his sister and his mother, gave vent to their anguish in heart-rending screams. His wife threw herself upon his neck, and exclaimed passionately, “Oh, why did I do this? Why did I do this?" [1] and, “Oh, how could those men find him guilty, when they have families? Oh, I will die!” The screams gradually subsided into sobs of grief and anguish, while the mournful, harrowing scene afflicted judge, jury, bar, and spectators.


Notes:

Richmond Semi-Weekly Examiner, 27 June, 1854: 1. Library of Virginia Archive.

Joe Essid prepared this typescript.

[1] No final quotation mark in original.

We would like to thank the staff of the Library of Virginia Archives and Special Collections, Alderman Library, and Barrett Collection for their assistance. This page contains material in the public domain and it may be reproduced in its entirety or cited for courses, scholarship, or other non-commercial uses. We ask that users cite the source and support the archives that have provided materials to the Spirit site.