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9:57 am
Tue January 18, 2011

165 years later, a call to pardon RI's John Gordon

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – A state lawmaker from Newport says he plans to introduce legislation Tuesday to pardon the last person executed in Rhode Island.

Democratic state Representative Peter Martin says historians now believe John Gordon was wrongly convicted and that anti-Irish sentiments ran high during his trial in the 1840s.

"The historians feel today that these people were prejudiced against," Martin says.

Martin says he was urged to introduce the bill by local historians and the lobbyist for Providence's Roman Catholic Diocese, who was moved by reading the script of a new local play on the case.

John Gordon was hanged 165 years ago after being convicted of killing mill owner Amasa Sprague.

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