Rhode Island



Year of Reenactment
(since 1972 suspension)
Year of First Execution
(since reenactment)
No executions since 1845
Year of Abolition

1822-1972: hanging

1973-1983: lethal gas

Current Method


The last execution in Rhode Island took place in 1845, when Irish immigrant John Gordon was executed for the murder of a prominent mill owner. Gordon was posthumously pardoned in 2011. The death penalty was abolished in Rhode Island from 1852 to 1873.

In 1973, Rhode Island instituted a mandatory death sentence for murder committed while under confinement in a state penitentiary. This law was ruled unconstitutional in 1979 and was removed from state law in 1984.

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