|In 1897 Cordélia Viau's husband was fond. He was stapped and his throat had been slit from ear to ear. Cordélia was arrested along with her lover, Sam Parslow. The evidence, together with confessions from both suggested that Sam was a moral weakling under Cordëlia's thumb, that he had done the actual stabbing and that Cordélia had then slit her husband's throat after he was dead. Tried and found guilty, they would hang back to back in the jail yard in St. Scholastique , only a few kilometres from the scene of their crime - about 50 kilometres north of Montreal.
The execution took place on March 10, 1899. Cordélia was then 23 years old.
|The execution took place on March 10, 1899.
At 6.30 a.m. the audience were allowed into the prison yard. They saw that while the scaffold's platform was open to their view, a cloth had been rigged around its base to hide the death throes of the condemned once the trap had been sprung. They could even see a heap of "the frozen earth that it had been nesessary to excavate in order to make the pit deep enough to successfully carry out the law's demands."
A little before at 8.00 a.m.the door of the jail opened. First came the sheriff, in his official robes, followed by Cordélia and a priest. She showed not the slightest sign of breaking down, and slightly lifting her skirt so as not to rip, she bravely ascended the steps of the gallows. They were followed by Sam in a very shaky condition, several priests and the executioner, John Radclive.
|The two stood on the trap back to back, separated by a cloth screen so they could not see each other. Their arms and legs were oinioned, hoods were placed over their heads and the nooses were snugged into place. Radclive nodded, the priests stepped back and at 8.04 a.m. the trap sprung. The noise made the crowd outside the prison cheer, and the witnesses rushed forward and tore down the screen to expose the dangling bodies. A priest shouted "Shame!, Shame! For decency's sake! Have you no decency?"
Meanwhile the attending doctors struggled to attest that deat did occur. Cordélia was dead after 6.30 minutes, Sam after 12 minutes.