Pudgy faced Marie Porter was 37 years old
when went to the electric chair in Illinois on
January 28, 1938. She had ordered the
murder of her brother for $3,300 in life
insurance. He was killed on his wedding
day, hours before his fiancé would have
replaced Porter as beneficiary. Preceding
her to the chair by ten minutes was
handsome Angelo Giancola, her hired
triggerman. Angelo was 22 years old and
had been described as Marie's lover. A few
hours earlier he has said he didn't mind
dying as long as his mentor in crime, Mrs.
Porter, also died. He also went to the chair
with seemingly unconcern. He was put into
the chair first. As he was led from just
below the execution chamber he paused at
Marie's cell and both said goodbye. He sat
in the chair at 12:06 a.m. uttered a few
words of thanks to the prison guards for
kind treatment, and said he was ready. The
current was turned on and at 12:08 he was
pronounced dead. Almost eight minutes
elapsed between the removal of Giancola's
body and the arrival of Mrs. Porter.
Marie went to the chair calmly. She weighed 250 pounds. Because of her size the prison tailor had made her a
specially tailored blue denim overall suit designed to allow easier attachment of straps and electrodes than a
dress would permit. This gown, similar to a jumper or bloomer suit, allowed her legs will be bare for the
electrodes. She wore silk hose, high heeled shoes, her wedding ring and a heavy cowl over her almost bald
Because of her weight Mrs. Porter ascended the seventeen steps to the death chamber with some difficulty.
She was assisted two matrons and two wardens helped her at the top of the steps. All eyes turned on the
Despite the cowl covered her eyes it was evident she was not nervous. Mrs. Porter seemed anxious,
however, to end her ordeal. At a whispered command from Warden Montgommery she sat solidly in the
chair. That was at 12:16 a.m. Because of her size the guards were unable to adjust the straps and electrodes
with the usual speed. But the task was finished and Mrs. Porter was asked for a last statement. She thanked
prison officials "I have no malice toward any one" she finished.
â€œIs that all, Mrs. Porter" asked Montgommery. She whispered "Yes" The warden said quietly, "good-bye
Mrs. Porter," and signaled.
There was a sharp sizzle and her huge body lurched against the straps. Witnesses looked away sheepishly as
if ashamed. But one man said avidly, `Look at her burn. At 12:19, two minutes after the 2300 volts were sent
through her body she was pronounced dead.