The History of the Death Penalty in Calilfornia

  • Capital Punishment Authorized in Penal Code

    Capital punishment is authorized in California state Penal Code.
  • First Execution at San Quentin State Prison

    Jose Gabriel, accused of murdering a couple, is hanged at San Quentin State Prison. It is the first state-conducted execution.
  • Gas Chamber Replaces Hanging as Execution Method.

    Lethal gas replaces hanging as method of execution.
  • First Lethal Gas Executions at San Quentin

    Robert L. Cannon and Albert Kessell, convicted of the murder of Warden Clarence Larkin, are the first to be executed by lethal gas at San Quentin State Prison.
  • First Woman Executed in California.

    Eithel Leta Juanita Spinelli is the first woman to be exeucted by lethal gas in the state of California.
  • Final Execution by Hanging at San Quentin

    The 215 and final execution by hanging occurs at San Quentin State Prison.
  • Last Execution Until 1992

    Aaron Mitchell, convicted of killing an officer during robbery, becomes the 194 person executed by lethal gas, and the last person executed until 1992.
  • California Supreme Court Abolishes Death Penalty

    California Supreme Court rules that the death penalty is unconstitutional. 107 inmates are taken off condemned status (death row) and resentencd.
  • California Legislature Reenacts the death penalty

    California State Legislature reenacts the death penalty statute.
  • California Voters Approve Proposition 7, Reaffirm Death Penalty.

    California voters approve Proposition 7, a law that replaces the 1977 statute and expands the number of crimes punishable by the death penalty.
  • California Resumes Executions

    Robert Alton Harris, convicted of murdering two teenagers in San Diego, is executed by lethal gas. First state-conducted execution since 1967.
  • Lethal Injection Added to Methods of Execution

    California law adds lethal injection to methods of execution. Inmates are now allowed to choose lethal injection or lethal gas.
  • Lethal Injection Replaces Lethal Gas

    US Judge rules that execution by gas is cruel and unusual punishment, and therefore unconstitutional. Lethal injection becomes the new method of execution.
  • First Execution by Lethal Injection

    William Bonin, convicted of murdering 14 boys, becomes the first California inmate executed by lethal injection.
  • Calfornia's Last Execution

    Clarence Ray Allen is executed by lethal injectin at San Quentin State Prison. He is the state's most recent execution.