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Man who survived the electric chair describes what it felt like

Man who survived the electric chair describes what it felt like

A man who survived the electric chair death penalty once described exactly what it felt like.

A man who survived the electric chair once described what it felt like before he was eventually executed in 1947.

In 1945, 16-year-old Willie Francis was sentenced to death as a juvenile offender by the state of Louisiana for the murder of Andrew Thomas - a pharmacy owner who once employed him.

Thomas was shot dead in August 1944, and his murder remained a mystery and unsolved for the nine months that followed.

Upon his arrest, police claimed that Francis was carrying Thomas' wallet in his pocket - though no evidence of this was brought forward to the trial.

To try and get out of it, Francis named several others in connection with the murder, but police dismissed them all.

Willie Francis was not connected with the murder until nine months after.
Wikimedia Commons

Francis did confess to killing Thomas in two separate written confessions, but he pleaded not guilty at the trial.

Just two days into the trial, Francis was convicted of murdering Thomas and sentenced to death despite being underage at 15 when he committed the dreadful crime.

So the plan was for Francis to be executed in May 1946 by an electric chair.

But it did not go to plan as a drunken executioner's misstep resulted in a painful shock which somehow didn't kill Francis.

The chair apparently failed as it was set up incorrectly by the two executioners who were drinking the night before.

Just moments before the shock, Francis well and truly thought it was the end as he sat in the chair, waiting for his time to come.

But little did he know that he would go on to live another year, as his case took him all the way to the US Supreme Court to try and get his death penalty turned around.

Unfortunately for Francis, his case failed, and he was eventually executed in 1947 in the electric chair.

Francis returned to the chair in 1947 and was killed this time.
Kerrick James / Alamy Stock Photo

Because of this unique scenario, Francis was often branded 'the teenager who was executed twice'.

After the failed first execution, Francis gave a unique insight into what it felt like sitting in the electric chair and being seconds away from death.

He said: "The best way I can describe it is: Whamm! Zst!

"It felt like a hundred and a thousand needles and pins were pricking in me all over and my left leg felt like somebody was cutting it with a razor blade.

"I could feel my arms jumping at my sides … I thought for a minute I was going to knock the chair over … I think I must have hollered for them to stop.

"They say I said, 'Take it off! Take it off!' I know that was certainly what I wanted them to do—turn it off."

Featured Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons / SCPhotos / Alamy Stock Photo

Topics: Crime