Maria Dominguez Martinez
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Maria Dominguez Martinez was born in 1926 in Paterna del Campo, a village near Huelva and, very
young, she went to the city to work as a housemaid. Shortly after she already had a job in the house
of a lieutenant colonel, with whom she promptly began an intimate relation. His wife was not a lady
of much health, so the housemaid spent much time taking care of her and very frequently served her
extra sugared milk, among many other things, and, above all, watched over the patient with a unusual
and obsessive care.
The sugared milk had the purpose of disguising the flavor of insecticide, which, day by day, the
housemaid administered her. When the lady, despite the housemaid's care, died Maria mourned for
her with great displays of concern.
As nobody connected her to the death, she became confident enough to finish off her employers
daughter in law, who was pregnant; therefore, her and the unborn child died. This raised suspicions
and the authorities proceeded to exhume and autopsy the bodies which revealed the presence of
arsenic.
She was condemned for three murders and served justice on the 23 of May 1949.
To this effect, the executioner Bernardo Sanchez arrived, in what was to be his first job of this kind,
and we have to recognize he was not much lucky in a detail that made his task much harder, if it is
possible. Eventually, the condemned woman was his wife's cousin; for this, the man asked to
execute her wearing a hood.
When she was being led to the scaffold at six a.m., Maria was screaming, blaming the lieutenant
colonel for having seduced her into it. She had to be held up so she would not collapse, she was not
able to walk. This made Bernardo extremely nervous. A sort of guilt complex got to him.
A story is told about this moment: the forensic doctor, seeing him like that, confused him by one of
the witnesses and advised him to leave so he would not pass out, to which the poor man replied: "But
I am the executioner."
The condemned woman already strapped to the post, her hair got tangled in the screw of the garrote.
Despite all these inconveniences, he performed impeccably and quickly, as he always did in the
thirteen executions he carried out during his years of duty.
In the attempt to make garroting a relatively humane method of execution, the modern garrote is a
quite complicated piece of mechanics. It takes skills to operate it correctly, and a women's long hair
easily gets winded up in the mechanism.