Michigan’s Last Execution – Anthony Chebatoris

The Chebatoris Execution in the Papers

Michigan hasn’t had the death penalty in 60 years. It was constitutionally banned here in 1963. In total, only 13 executions were ever carried out in Michigan’s history. All but six of those happened before Michigan became a territory in 1805.

After Anthony ‘Tony’ Chebatoris and Jack Gracey unsuccessfully tried to rob the Chemical State Savings Bank in Midland, Michigan, the stage would be set for Michigan’s first execution in 100 years and last execution ever.

Why that bank?

The Chemical State Savings bank was located over 120 miles away from Gracey’s hometown of Hamtramck. The duo learned that the Chemical State bank handled the bi-weekly Dow Chemical Corporation pay-roll. Every other week, $75,000 cash went through those doors. The equivalent of nearly 1.5 Million today.

The Great Depression

In 1938 America was in the eighth year of the Great Depression. Times were tough and bank robberies were a quick way to get heaps of cash. With the rise of bank robberies and the newer, more sophisticated plans, the United States Congress passed the Federal Bank Robbery Act of 1934. It was now a federal crime to rob a federal bank with even steeper penalties for causing the death of someone during that robbery.

The Headlines

Below is a collection of various newspaper articles that dealt with the bank robbery, the death, the murder trial and the execution.

Thank you to Newspapers.com for the original articles.

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