Capital punishment in Massachusetts

Capital punishment in Massachusetts was a legal form of punishment from 1620 to 1984, when it was declared unconstitutional.


The first recorded execution in Massachusetts was John Billington. He was executed by hanging on September 30, 1630, in Plymouth for murder.

The last executions were gangsters Philip Bellino and Edward Gertson on May 9, 1947, for the murder of Robert Williams, a former U.S. Marine. Both were executed via electric chair.

Although capital punishment is now unconstitutional in Massachusetts, federal crimes committed in Massachusetts may still be subject to the death penalty. For example, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was sentenced to death by a federal court on May 15, 2015, for his role in the Boston Marathon bombing.

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