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ADDED NOTE: Fornshell, Marvin E, The Historical and Illustrated Ohio Penitentiary, (1907-1908, rpt. 1997 by Arthur W. McGraw) page 150
Arthur J. Grover (Prisoner 17883) was sentenced to die for the Wood County murder of an "aged lady" while trying to rob her. Additionaly, the execution of Arthur J. Grover was the last that the law required be performed by the sheriff of the county in which the crime was committed.
THE PENALTY PAID.
EXECUTION OF ARTHUR J.
GROVER AT THE PENITENTIARY.
The Hardened Man Meets His Death With Coolness and Dies Declaring His Innocence--The Execution a Success in Every Way.
The execution of Arthur J. Grover took place early this morning in the Penitentiary, and thus the murder of Granville G. Loomis has been atoned for. Grover died the same cold blooded, heartless, unrepentant man.>
Yesterday afternoon after THE DISPATCH went to press Warden Peetrey began to be worried about the non-arrival of Sheriff Brown from Cincinnati. The statement that the Coroner of Wood county had arrived yesterday was wrong, as that gentleman did not come at all, and when Warden Peetrey discovered that the had been misinformed in regard to this, his troubles seemed even more complicated. Under the provisions of the Zimmerman law the Warden or a deputy must perform the executions, and this news came to Warden Peetrey late in the afternoon through Attorney General Koehler. A consultation took place between these gentlemen, and, as a result, Attorney General Koehler advised him to let Sheriff Brown of Wood county, officiate, since the order of the Court expressly named him. This was satisfactory to the Warden, but the fact that Sheriff Brown was between here and Cincinnati, and that the Coroner had not arrived, made the whole so embarrassing that any man would have been in a quandary.
All turned out all right, for Sheriff Brown came in on the Midland railroad at 11 o'clock, brisk and business-like. He at once proceeded to a hotel and met his Wood county assistants and spectators there, and then proceeded to the Penitentiary, arriving a little before midnight. As the death warrant was in his possession, he wasted but little time in the outside office. Throwing his coat and vest aside, he proceeded to the execution department and there read the death warrant to the prisoner. He was accompanied by Warden Peetrey, Deputy Dunn, and Sheriffs Blair, Hall and Dewstoe. To some of these gentlemen Grover spoke in a quiet and calm way, but he would not speak to Sheriff Brown, whom he hated with all the concentrated venom of his vicious nature.
Grover's coolness had never deserted him an instant. During the entire afternoon and evening he had sat quietly around and had eaten a hearty supper. He talked with those he liked, but would have nothing to say to most persons. Eyewitnesses of his conduct when Sheriff Brown was reading his death warrant say that a muscle never quivered. As there was nothing to delay his execution, Warden Peetrey went back to his office to conduct the spectators to the execution room. The spectators were Warden Peetrey, Deputy Warden Marriott, Assistant Deputy Warden Stansell, ex-Sheriff J. B. Newton, of Wood county, Sheriffs Hall, Blair and Dewstoe, of Licking, Fulton and Cuyahoga counties, respectively; Deputy Dunn of Wood county; Guards Parr and Peter McCaffrey; Detective Philo Rawson, Ward Watkins of Prospect; Doctors Montgomery and Homes of the Penitentiary; Captain Kehoe, of the night watch; Willis Peetrey son of the Warden, and representatives of THE DISPATH, Bowling Green Gazette, Wood County Sentinel, Cincinnati Enquirer, Perrysburg Journal, Times Journal and Western Associated Press. As soon as the portion of these who were to witness the execution had assembled in the death room, the prisoner was brought out and ascended to the platform without assistance. Sheriff Dewstoe began fixing the straps around his body, arms and legs, and Deputy Dunn adjusted the rope to his neck. Sheriff Brown asked him in a low tone if he han anything to say. Grover made a short reply in which he said, he was innocent, that he could say more if he wanted to, but he did not watn to. He closed by saying, "Farewell, boys and good bye."
Sheriff Blair put on the black cap and gave the signal to Sheriff Brown, who sprang the lever, and Grover went down to his death. This was at 12:45 o'clock, and in 16 minutes and 15 seconds he was pronounced dead, his neck having been broken. When he fell there was one convulsion and the black cap came off, disclosing the features of the dying man. This was speedily put on again, and the body remained still. The body was placed in a coffin and is to be sent to the Starling Medical College for dissection.
Sheriff Brown and his party went back to Wood county this morning, well satisfied with the successful execution.
All the Wood county officials unite in giving Grover a bad character. Sheriff Brown says he was cruel, that he used to delight in telling how he had tortured horses, cattle and dogs in the days of his freedom. There seems to be no doubt but that Grover was as vicious a man as ever entered the Penitentiary walls. He bid good-bye to his two companions in the death cells, Lewis Webster and Jefferson Bowling, without emotion, although they were affected.
This is the last execution at the Penitentiary in which the Sheriff of the county in which the murder was committed will have to do the principal part. Hereafter it is the Warden, or a deputy appointed by him, who acts as executioner.
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