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Leon Frank Czolgosz is known as the assassin who killed President William McKinley.
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Unfortunately, McKinley eventually succumbed to his injuries, dying from gangrene on September 14. Czolgosz was soon arraigned on charges for the murder. Others, such as Emma Goldman, were thought to have been involved in the assassination plot. But it was later determined that Czolgosz acted alone.
Czolgosz had initially refused legal representation, but he was appointed two attorneys for his trial. Former State Supreme Court judges Loran L. Lewis and Robert Titus were brought in as defense lawyers. The brief trial began on September 23, 1901, ending with the jury finding him guilty. On September 26, the judge sentenced Czolgosz to death.
The following day, he was transported to Auburn State Prison. There an angry mob waited for his arrival, hoping to deliver their own version of justice. Czolgosz was pulled off the train and badly beaten by the crowd, but the prison officers were able to get him into the building. The warden refused to allow anyone to visit him as he awaited his death sentence. On the morning of October 29, 1901, Leon Frank Czolgosz met his end in the electric chair. He was buried in the prison’s cemetery.
Since his death, Czolgosz has remained an infamous figure in American history. His actions are often considered alongside the acts of such other notorious killers as John Wilkes Booth and Lee Harvey Oswald. He was later reimagined for the stage, appearing as a character in Stephen Sondheim’s 1990 musical Assassins.
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