Kornel Loth: 2d Execution
 at Clinton Prison (1893)

Kornel Loth Dead.


 The Second Execution by Electricity at Clinton Prison—Improved Methods Employed, Making it the Most Successful Electrocution Since the Law went Into Force.

           Kornel Loth, the brutal woman-slayer, met death yesterday as the law prescribes, as a penalty for the willful murder of Etta Demacsek at Schenectady on June 14th last.  It was the second electrocution at Clinton Prison, and the 12th in the State, and Electrician Davis pronounces it the most successful of all.  Loth was the first man to be executed without a stay.  Death was instantaneous and must have been painless, as there was no contraction of muscles, or any evidence of suffering.

    It was 11.30 o’clock when Stenographer Couglin announced to the witnesses that he would conduct them to the death chamber, and in a few moments they were in the chamber.  The following were



 Warden Thayer, Deputy Warden McKenna, Prison Physician Ransom, Drs. C.C. Schuyler, E.M. Lyon, F. Madden, J.H. LaRocque, Plattsburgh; Dr. J.S. Van Vechten, Chateaugay; Dr. S. Mitchell, Saranac; Dr. Aldridge, Warrensburgh;  Dr. Kathan, Sheriff Myers, T.W. Wallace, Schenectady; G.E. Graham, United Press; E.G. Conde, Schenectady Star; G.C. Moon, Schenectady Union, W.H. Ferrell, Plattsburgh Telegram; H. S. Estacoust, Saratogo; J.P. Powers, Troy; Coronor Guililand, Plattsburgh; William Mitchell, Albany; I.Levy, Schenectady; E.M. Coughlin, Dannemora; Jefferson Roberts, Chateaugay.  Besides, were the priests, Fathers Ballanger and Beaudry, and the assistants, Guards Vogan and Glazier.



           The death chamber is a room about 15x25 feet, lighted by two small grated windows near the ceiling.  At one end, on a wooden platform, is the death chair, and just behind it the electrical closet where the executioner stood.  At the other end the witnesses seated themselves, and Warden Thayer addressed them briefly, saying that they were there simply as witnesses, and must not in any way interfere with the carrying out of the sentence.  Electrician Davis then tested the current by sending it through a bank of incandescent lamps on the chair, and then disconnected the wires in readiness for the victim.  The chair, the same in which Wood was killed, is of inch and a half oak, the front legs being taken by a single support with two ankle rests.  A pad of rubber serves for a head rest, and there are straps to fasten the body, head, arms and legs.



          When the electrician had finished his test, the warden and his deputy left to bring in the condemned man.

          Loth has been an exemplary prisoner; and his last day and night on earth were passed as quietly as any since his imprisonment.  He retired early and slept fairly well, but was awake when his guards went to arouse him, and dressed himself in the new black cutaway coat and trousers provided for him to die in.  Father Belanger, a French priest of the village arrived a little later and found the prisoner awaiting him.  For half an hour the condemned man was closeted with his confessor, and took part devoutly in the prayers.  When his breakfast was served he partook rather sparingly of eggs, coffee, meat and bread, and showed some signs of nervousness.  About an hour after his breakfast his confessor was again admitted to the cell, this time bringing with him Father Beaudry of Redford, whom Loth desired to be present.  Both men remained with him until the summons to come to the death chamber was delivered.  When Warden Thayer and Deputy McKenna appeared he was ready in a very few moments to accompany them.  The only sign of trepidation was the moisture about the condemned man’s eyes.



           The entry into the death chamber was made with the warden and his deputy preceeding the prisoner, the two priests flanking the condemned man, who walked steadily.  As the prisoner stepped across the threshold he cast a swift glance about him and as his eyes fell upon the instruments of death he seemed to shrink within himself.

          Just before reaching the chair Loth knelt before the chair and prayed for about a minutes.  He then arose, kissing the priests, and seated himself in the chair.  As the attendants were strapping him in the chair he said “take it easy.  I am taking it easy” and smiled.  The priests, meantime, were reciting the office for the dead.  After being strapped in, the attendants stepped back and Dr. Ransom, watch in hand, gave the signal to the execution.  Down went the lever and as the current entered the body it stiffened up against the straps, resuming its normal position as, in accordance with the new method the voltage was decreased.  An interval of four seconds elapsed and during that time there was not a motion, not even a quiver of the muscles.  Then Dr. Ransom signaled again and the electrician reduced the current until finally it was closed off altogether.  During the first four seconds the voltage was 1725, and during the remainder of the contact it was but 150.



           The attending physicians then examined the body and declared the man dead in expiation of his dreadful crime.  The straps and electrodes were then removed and the witnesses allowed to view the body.  There was no mark upon it to indicate how death had occurred and the face was as calm as in life.  The body was removed to the dissecting room and the witnesses proceeded to sign the death warrant.  The results of the autopsy were the same as in the previous cases.  Loth’s body will be buried in the prison plot to-day in quick lime as he has no friends to claim it.  The official time of the execution was as follows.  Entry into chamber, 11.57 a.m.; time occupied in prayer and strapping, 1˝  minutes; length of contact, 55 seconds.  The entire time from entry until death was pronounced, 2 minutes 25 seconds.

          The assistant physicians were Drs. Schuyler and Madden of Plattsburgh, and Dr. Van Vechten of Chateaugay.  These as well as the other physicians and witnesses present pronounced the electrocution a complete success.  To Dr. Ransom is due the credit for the change in the method of applying the current i.e. using but one contact, and reducing the voltage gradually.  This does away entirely with the possibility of burning the flesh, and the muscular contraction, so prominent in other electrocutions.

          After the electrocution Warden Thayer invited the witnesses to dinner at his home which was accepted.  Every courtesy possible was extended by the Warden and Deputy McKenna, and their assistants to the visitors, who were conducted through the prison and the various points of interests and prisoners of more or less notoriety pointed out.



          The electrocution of Loth relieves a certain amount of strain upon the officials, and especially upon the death watch.  Among other bad habits, Loth was a cigarette fiend and said he would go to the chair smoking one.  He spent all the money he had for cigarettes except 80 cents, which he asked Warden Thayer to give to the church when he was dead.  It was also feared that he would attempt suicide, as he had stated several times that he knew how to make way with himself.  An extra guard was placed over him after the Warden learned of this, but he made no attempt to carry out his threats.



           The crime for which the wretched murderer suffered the extreme penalty of the law was one of the most brutal and inhuman in the calendar.  In fact it was so brutal and fiendish that no effort was made to save the monster’s life.

          On the morning of June 14th last, Loth went to Schenectady from New York and unhesitatingly went to the Demacsek residence, locked the doors and then attacked the poor defenseless woman, whom he brained with a loaded cane.  Not content with this fiendish work he cut her throat from ear to ear with a knife belonging to her husband.  Little Bessie French called at the house on the morning of the murder and knocking at the door was told by Loth that “Nobody ain’t home.”  She looked through a crack in the door and saw Loth at his horrible butchery.  Later the mutilated body of the unfortunate woman was found in the house.  Several witnesses were found who were positive they saw Loth leave the Demacsek house by the rear door after the murder, and go toward the railway station.  After committing his fiendish work Loth went to New York, where he was arrested, and when brought back to the scene of his crime he confessed he murdered the woman, but said her husband hired him to kill her, agreeing to give him $50 for the job.  Demacsek was also arrested, but the grand jury failed to indict him, but did indict Loth for murder in the first degree.  It was shown that Demacsek wanted to get rid of his wife, and had on several occasions tried to hire Loth to kill her.  Loth’s trial began Tuesday morning, Nov. 28, 1892, and was completed Wednesday evening.  The above facts were proven against the prisoner and he then took the stand and denied his guilt.  He admitted that Demacsek had paid him money in anticipation of his killing the woman, but maintained that a man named Leichman, who resided in New York, but had since fled to Hungary, was the real murderer.  An effort was also made by the defense to show that Loth was subject to fits of insanity.  It took the jury just thirty-five minutes to convict Loth of murder in the first degree.

          Loth was arraigned Friday, Dec. 2, and sentenced to be electrocuted at Dannemora prison during the week beginning January 15.


Newspaper article dated January 21, 1893.