Rare CDV of Luther J. Verrill, Murder Suspect in A Racially Charged Case

Rare CDV of Luther J. Verrill, Murder Suspect in A Racially Charged Case

Maine: Conlon, C.C., 1867.

Albumen photograph on carte-de-visite mount with printed title, "Luther J. Verrill, The Supposed West Auburn Murderer." Fine. Luther Verrill, a white man, was arrested and tried along with a black man named Clifton Harris for the horrifically brutal murder of two white women near Auburn, Maine, in Janurary 1867. Both men were convicted, but Verrill received a new trial and was found not guilty after Harris recanted testimony implicating him in the crime. Only one man had been executed for murder in Maine in the preceeding 30 years, and according to Galiher et al. (America Without the Death Penalty), "the execution of a black man for the murder of two white women was seen by many Mainers as a blatant act of racism....Maine's Attorney General spoke in opposition to Harris's execution. He questioned the ethics of executing Harris while the individual that likely carried out the killings (Luther J. Verrill) remained a free man....Immediately after Harris's hanging, additional evidence was found that further supported Harris's [initial] claim that Verrill was actually the murderer." This case was one of several that led to Maine's abolition of the death penalty in 1887.

Item #19775

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