Monday, November 18, 2002


39 years and counting... Last N.J. execution was in 1963

The last person put to death in New Jersey was Ralph James Hudson, 44, was electrocuted on Jan. 22, 1963, at Trenton State Prison.

He was the 160th person to be executed under the state's modern death penalty law. The first was a Somerset County resident, Severio DiGiovanne, on Dec. 11, 1907.

His last meal consisted of roasted prime ribs of beef, peas, french fries, ice cream and coffee, followed by a cigar.

He entered the death chamber with his guards and was silent as he sat down in the electric chair in front of 50 spectators seated behind a waist-high white curtain, according to a Courier-Post account.

He shook slightly as the guards fastened leather straps around his waist, legs, arms and over his mouth and eyes, the account said. The steel cap with its electrode was then placed over his head.

With pickets outside protesting capital punishment, he was put to death at 11:04 p.m. He was pronounced dead after eight jolts of 2,200-volt direct current were administered.

No one claimed his body, and he was buried by the state in a potter's field.