Crimelines True Crime Podcast w/ Death’s Door Podcast Featured the Last Military Execution of Army Private John Bennett in 1961 (April 22, 2018)

“In 1961, the US military carried out the last execution after a court-martial, as of the time of this recording. Army Pvt John Bennett’s conviction was for the rape and attempted murder of an 11 year girl in Austria. This case brought up questions of race in our military justice system and if mental health should factor into sentencing.” –Army Private John Bennett w/ Death’s Door, Crimelines True Crime Podcast (April 22, 2018)

Related Links:
Civil Rights Act of 1964
No Military Executions Since 1961
Crimelines True Crime Podcast (website)
Crimelines True Crime Podcast (Facebook)
Crimelines True Crime Podcast (Twitter)
Army Private John Bennett w/ Death’s Door | Crimelines Podcast | Stitcher
Army Private John Bennett w/ Death’s Door | Crimelines Podcast | Podtail
Army Private John Bennett w/ Death’s Door | Crimelines Podcast | Radio Public
Army Private John Bennett w/ Death’s Door | Crimelines Podcast | Apple Podcasts
Four U.S. Service Members on Military Death Row at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas; Army Private John Bennett was Last Military Execution by Hanging in 1961
Six Intriguing True Crime Podcasts Spotlighting Active Duty Military Suicide, Missing, and Murder Cases
Pvt. John Bennett Is the Only U.S. Soldier Executed for Rape in Peacetime.
A look at the last U.S. soldier executed by the military
U.S. Military Could Execute Ex-Soldier for First Time Since 1961
Haunted by the Story of John Bennett and Other Black Soldiers’ Lives on Death Row
Soldiers Sentenced to Die, but No Executions on Military Death Row Since 1961
These are the 4 inmates on the military’s death row
Death’s Door Podcast (website)
Death’s Door Podcast (Facebook)
Death’s Door Podcast (Twitter)

Four U.S. Service Members on Military Death Row at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas; Army Private John Bennett was Last Military Execution by Hanging in 1961

US Army

John Bennett, US Army (Austria)

Army Pvt. John Bennett Executed by Hanging at U.S. Disciplinary Barracks, Fort Leavenworth for Raping White Girl in Austria (April 13, 1961)

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Ronald Gray, US Army (Fort Bragg, North Carolina)

Ronald Gray, US Army, Sentenced to Death by Military Court for the Rape & Murder of Army Private Laura Vickery-Clay & Civilian Kimberly Ruggles (1986)

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Hasan Akbar, US Army (Fort Bragg, North Carolina)

Sergeant Hasan Akbar, US Army, Sentenced to Death by Military Court for a Grenade & Rifle Attack on Fellow Soldiers in Kuwait Resulting in Two Deaths & Several Injuries (2003)

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Major Nidal Hasan, US Army (Fort Hood, Texas)

Major Nidal Hasan, US Army, Sentenced to Death by Military Court for Opening Fire & Killing 12 Unarmed Soldiers and 1 DoD Employee at Fort Hood, Texas (2009)

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Timothy Hennis, US Army (Fort Bragg, North Carolina)

Retired Army Sgt. Timothy Hennis Sentenced to Death by Military Court for the Murders of Air Force Spouse Kathryn Eastburn & Children Cara & Erin at Fort Bragg (April 15, 2010)

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Dwight Loving, US Army (Fort Hood, Texas)

Army Soldier Dwight Loving Murdered First of Two Cab Drivers; Sentenced to Death by Military Courts But Commuted in 2017 by President Obama, Re-sentenced to Life, No Parole (December 12, 1988)

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SrA Andrew Witt, US Air Force (Robins AFB, Georgia)

Air Force SrA Andrew Witt Sentenced to Death for the Pre-Meditated Murders of Jamie & Andy Schliepsiek; 13 Years Later, Military Court Re-sentenced Witt to Life In Prison, No Parole (October 13, 2005)

Deadly Women Premiered ‘Souls of Stone’ on ID: Iva Kroeger Strangled Married Couple Because She Wanted What They Had (November 15, 2013)

Selfish women will sometimes sell their souls to the devil to get what they want. A scorned lover weaves a web of lies, a teenage Goth orders a reign of terror, and a gold-digger buries secrets in her basement. -Souls of Stone, Deadly Women (S7, E18)

Naughty by Monte Schulz (Book):

This crime noir novel, set in the 1950s, was inspired by the real life story of Iva Kroeger and her husband, indicted for the murders of Mildred and Jay Arneson in 1962. -Monte Schulz, Mr. Media Interviews By Bob Andelman

Editor’s note: With a cable subscription, you can download the free ID Go app and watch Investigation Discovery programming at your convenience. And for those who do not have cable, you can watch “unlocked” episodes on the ID Go app including the latest premieres. For those who prefer commercial free programming during your binge session, Prime Video has an ID channel: ‘True Crime Files by Investigation Discovery” available for $3.99 a month. It’s a compilation of older seasons but totally worth the cost if you are a true crime addict. Download the ID Go app or purchase ID True Crime Files & binge away.

Related Links:
The Grandma from Hell
17 infamous crimes in Sonoma County history
Monte Schulz retells gruesome story from Santa Rosa’s past
Naughty by nature, Iva Kroeger inspired Monte Schulz! INTERVIEW
Souls of Stone | Deadly Women | Investigation Discovery (S7, E18)
Souls of Stone | Deadly Women | Investigation Discovery (website)
Souls of Stone | Deadly Women | Investigation Discovery (Amazon)
Iva Kroeger Murdered Motel Owners Mildred Arneson and WWI Army Veteran Jay Arneson in California; Sentenced to Life in Prison (August 20, 1962)
Deadly Women: 30 Military and Veteran Homicide Cases Featured on Investigation Discovery

LA Times Published ‘Pvt. John Bennett is the Only U.S. Soldier Executed for Rape in Peacetime’ by Richard A. Serrano (September 10, 2000)

Photo by Umberto Shaw on Pexels.com

Pvt. John Bennett is the Only U.S. Soldier Executed for Rape in Peacetime. He Was Mentally Troubled and Black. Six White Murderers Were Also on Military Death Row. They Were Spared.

Richard A. Serrano is a Staff Writer in The Times’ Washington, bureau. He last wrote for the magazine about the bombing of the Oklahoma, City federal building, which was also the subject of his book, “One of, Ours,” published in 1998 by W.W. Norton

“Rain always frightened him, and on the night he was hanged in a military prison in Kansas, a rolling prairie thunderstorm was kicking up outside. That was four decades ago. Pvt. John Bennett had just turned 26. He went to his death perhaps more terrified of the thunder and lightning than of the gaunt hangman waiting upon the gallows.

News of the hanging scarcely made the papers. Executions then, like today, were commonplace, so much so that his story has never been told. But he is the last member of the U.S. Armed Forces to be executed. And he is the only serviceman hanged for rape during peacetime.

America is once again examining the death penalty, spurred by the most damning evidence in history that innocents have been sentenced to die. Advances in DNA testing and other revelations have overturned scores of death sentences in recent years, raising fresh doubts about American criminal justice, especially for minorities, who make up the majority of death row prisoners.

As a result, the death penalty issue looms larger in presidential politics than it has for a generation. Both major party candidates favor death sentencing, and Republican nominee George W. Bush has given it special emphasis. He expresses confidence in his state’s handling of capital cases and says that not one innocent man has been executed on his watch as governor of Texas.

The issue also has landed in the Oval Office, where President Clinton delayed by four months the federal government’s first scheduled execution since 1963. Juan Raul Garza will now have until Dec. 12–a date notably after the presidential election–to seek clemency. Garza’s attorneys say they will argue that the criminal justice system discriminates against minorities.

Amid the chatter, national opinion polls have found that while most Americans still favor death sentencing, the support is diminishing. Even its proponents question the role that race, mental illness, poverty, politics and the quality of legal representation play in death penalty cases. All those factors were present on that stormy night in April 1961 inside the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Ft. Leavenworth. Was the system broken back then? Has it been fixed since?

Read more from Richard A. Serrano (LA Times) here or here and check out Serrano’s book ‘Summoned at Midnight: A Story of Race and the Last Military Executions at Fort Leavenworth’ here.

Related Links:
Pvt John Arthur Bennett (April 13, 1961)
Pvt. John Bennett is the Only U.S. Soldier Executed for Rape in Peacetime
Pvt. John Bennett Is the Only U.S. Soldier Executed for Rape in Peacetime
Bush OKs Execution for Army Private on Death Row
1961: John A. Bennett, the last American military execution (so far)
The Rare Case Of The Military Execution
A look at the last U.S. soldier executed by the military
Soldiers Sentenced to Die, but No Executions on Military Death Row Since 1961
A look at the 6 inmates on US military death row
Servicemen on Death Row; 6 killers await as mil­i­tary jus­tice crawls
Judge lifts execution stay for ex-soldier in military prison
U.S. Military Could Execute Ex-Soldier for First Time Since 1961
Army moves closer to first execution in 50 years; Ronald Gray on death row since 1988
These are the 4 inmates on the military’s death row
Haunted by the Story of John Bennett and Other Black Soldiers’ Lives on Death Row
Resuming federal executions unlikely to affect military death row
Summoned at Midnight: A Story of Race and the Last Military Executions at Fort Leavenworth 
Crimelines True Crime Podcast w/ Death’s Door Podcast Featured the Last Military Execution of Army Private John Bennett in 1961 (April 22, 2018)
Four U.S. Service Members on Military Death Row at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas; Army Private John Bennett was Last Military Execution by Hanging in 1961
Seven Intriguing True Crime Podcasts Spotlighting Active Duty Military Suicide, Missing, and Murder Cases

Fort Hood Army Deserters George York & James Latham Killed Seven People in Multiple States in Two Weeks; Sentenced to Death in Kansas (May 24, 1961)

US Army Seal

Army soldiers George York and James Latham went Absent without Leave (AWOL) from Fort Hood in Texas on May 24, 1961. In two weeks, they killed seven people in multiple states:

  1. Edward Guidroz (bludgeoned to near death), Louisiana
  2. Althea Ottavio (robbed and strangled), Georgia
  3. Patricia Hewitt (robbed and strangled), Georgia
  4. John Whittaker (robbed, shot, and killed), Tennessee
  5. Albert Reed (stole car, murdered), Illinois
  6. Martin Drenovac (stole gas, murdered), Illinois
  7. Rachel Moyer (molested and murdered), Colorado
  8. Otto Ziegler (murdered), Kansas

On May 24, 1961, York and Latham deserted for the last time. They set out for York’s Florida hometown. Somewhere along the way, they morphed into indiscriminate killers. -NY Daily News

Related Links:
George York and James Latham
State of Kansas v. James Latham & George York (1962)
James Douglas Latham and George Ronald York, Petitioners, v. Sherman H. Crouse, Warden, Kansas State Penitentiary, Lansing, Kansas, Respondent (1964)
In Cold Blood “The Corner”
One Night on a Kansas Farm
Killer’s sister: ‘In Cold Blood’ inaccurate
Killing the “In Cold Blood” killers: The secret remnants of a grisly execution
Two racist, mentally disturbed AWOL soldiers go on killing rampage across the country in 1961
A history of capital punishment in Kansas through 1994
Road Trip to Hell: Men Who Murdered 7 During Cross-Country Killing Spree are Executed by Hanging
Spree Killers: George Ronald York and James Douglas Latham killed 9 people in a multi-state killing spree; Both were executed on 6/22/1965
Glimpse from the gallows

Army Pvt. John Bennett Executed by Hanging at U.S. Disciplinary Barracks, Fort Leavenworth for Raping White Girl in Austria (April 13, 1961)

Photo by Shane Aldendorff on Pexels.com

“John Bennett, a black man, was hanged for raping a white girl in Austria. During the six years between his trial and death, eight other soldiers were executed, all of them black. Six white prisoners were on death row during those years. Some had killed little girls or had killed more than once. None were executed. President Dwight Eisenhower commuted the sentences of four. Two were spared by the courts. Today, six soldiers are on military death row–four black, one Asian, one white.” (update: 4 soldiers are on death row now)

Evidence in Bennett’s case revealed mental defects in the young man and his family, defects that today would probably spare his life. He also almost certainly suffered from epilepsy, which his defenders cited as further evidence of mental illness. Even Dr. Karl Menninger, the country’s preeminent psychiatrist, twice sought to save the life of this ‘undistinguished epileptic Negro soldier.The court-martial was held in Austria. The trial lasted five days, with little defense. The jury deliberated just 25 minutes.

Read more from Richard A. Serrano (LA Timeshere or here and check out Serrano’s book ‘Summoned at Midnight: A Story of Race and the Last Military Executions at Fort Leavenworth’ here.

Related Links:
Pvt John Arthur Bennett (April 13, 1961)
Pvt. John Bennett is the Only U.S. Soldier Executed for Rape in Peacetime
Pvt. John Bennett Is the Only U.S. Soldier Executed for Rape in Peacetime
Bush OKs Execution for Army Private on Death Row 
1961: John A. Bennett, the last American military execution (so far)
The Rare Case Of The Military Execution 
A look at the last U.S. soldier executed by the military 
Soldiers Sentenced to Die, but No Executions on Military Death Row Since 1961 
A look at the 6 inmates on US military death row
Servicemen on Death Row; 6 killers await as mil­i­tary jus­tice crawls
Judge lifts execution stay for ex-soldier in military prison
U.S. Military Could Execute Ex-Soldier for First Time Since 1961 
Army moves closer to first execution in 50 years; Ronald Gray on death row since 1988 
These are the 4 inmates on the military’s death row 
Haunted by the Story of John Bennett and Other Black Soldiers’ Lives on Death Row
Resuming federal executions unlikely to affect military death row
Summoned at Midnight: A Story of Race and the Last Military Executions at Fort Leavenworth 
Crimelines True Crime Podcast w/ Death’s Door Podcast Featured the Last Military Execution of Army Private John Bennett in 1961 (April 22, 2018)
Four U.S. Service Members on Military Death Row at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas; Army Private John Bennett was Last Military Execution by Hanging in 1961
Seven Intriguing True Crime Podcasts Spotlighting Active Duty Military Suicide, Missing, and Murder Cases