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Find all Francises in:
 • Union Baptist Cemetery
 • Martinville
 • St. Tammany Parish
 • Louisiana
 • Find A Grave

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Willie Francis
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Birth: Jan. 12, 1929
Saint Martinville
St. Martin Parish
Louisiana, USA
Death: May 9, 1947
Saint Martinville
St. Martin Parish
Louisiana, USA

He was best known as the first person to survive an execution by electrocution in the United States. He was first sentenced to die in 1945 in the state of Louisiana for the murder of Andrew Thomas, a Cajun drugstore owner who once employed him. Despite two separate written confessions, Francis pleaded not guilty. During the trial, his court appointed attorneys were totally ineffective, putting up no defense and calling no witnesses or raising any objections. They also failed to question the validity of the confessions. The trial lasted just two days and he was found guilty. On May 3, 1946 the chair failed to kill Willie Francis. The portable electric chair known as "Gruesome Gertie" was apparently not set up properly, supposedly by an intoxicated prison guard and an inmate. After the botched execution, a young lawyer took the case up to the Supreme Court. A protracted legal battle ensued but the judges ultimately found against Francis and the sentence was carried out on 12:05 PM on May 9, 1947. The same chair that failed the first time was successful the second time. He was the subject of a 2006 documentary and a feature film about him is currently in the works.
I am not sure if this cemetery is in the proper place or if there is another one with the same name in St. Martinville, St. Martin Parish. I need to find additional info. 
 
Burial:
Union Baptist Cemetery
Martinville
St. Tammany Parish
Louisiana, USA
 
Created by: Big Ern
Record added: Jul 07, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 39164715
Willie Francis
Added by: Blue-eyed girl
 
Willie Francis
Added by: Lance
 
Willie Francis
Added by: Big Ern
 
 
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- Donna B.
 Added: Mar. 20, 2015

- virgil
 Added: Mar. 19, 2014

- Lance
 Added: Mar. 4, 2014
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