Wrangell Saint Elias National Park. Photo by Maggie Louden.
Nelson Charles, an Alaskan Native, was the first person executed in Juneau. He was hanged in 1939 for murdering his mother-in-law, and was the only man hanged in Alaska for the murder of a woman. Read a full description of the Charles case here.
Milestones in Abolition/Reinstatement
The abolition measure passed by the Alaska Territorial Legislature in 1957 stated simply: "The death penalty is and shall hereafter be abolished as punishment in Alaska for the commission of any crime."
Other Interesting Facts
Alaska as a state has never had a death penalty. The Territorial Legislature abolished capital punishment two years before Alaska gained statehood.
Prior to 1899, miner's courts handled legal matters in Alaska. Seven people are estimated to have been executed under that system.
There were only eight legal executions in Alaska between 1900 and 1957. Two of the men hanged were white, three were Alaska Natives, two were black and one was an immigrant from Montenegro. Records before 1900 are poor, but it is believed that a total of seven persons were hanged in territorial Alaska from 1869 to 1900.
Many thanks to Sue Johnson for her contributions to this page.