How To Cheat The Death Sentence

How To Cheat The Death Sentence

5 months ago
4 mins read

In continuation with our season’s treats for you, here is another yarn designed to help you ease into the new year with a joyful disposition. Enjoy.

Guy Studbacker was a resident of Burlington in the US state of Vermont. He was 6ft 3in tall and as strong as an ox. Guy Studbacker was a habitual criminal and a drug addict. In 1960 he was arrested for armed robbery in which he shot dead a shopkeeper and was sentenced to death. While in prison waiting for his death sentence to be implemented, he converted to Christianity, was weaned off drugs and became quite active in mentoring others. Guy Studbacker was a model prisoner and never gave the prison officials any cause for concern. He was always involved in organising social events in the prison and whenever there was any disagreement between the inmates and the management, Guy Studbacker often smoothed things over.

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One day, it so happened that a prison clerk was clearing away the accumulated rubbish left behind by a long-departed prison official when a file dropped on his feet. He bent down and picked it up and was about dumping it inside the trash bag along with other trash when he paused and out of curiosity opened the file. It was the dusty file of Guy Studbacker, and according to the contents of the file, he was supposed to have been executed three years ago.

The clerk took the file to his boss who in turn passed it to the prison governor. An enquiry was launched, and it turned out that the retired official was a drunk who jumped before he was pushed. Apparently, during one of his drunken bouts, he had thrown Guy Studbacker’s file behind the filing cabinet and forgotten about it. But it was not too late to rectify the situation, the prison governor reapplied to the State of Vermont for permission to carry out the sentence. This was duly approved, and the prison governor wrote to Guy Studbacker to apologise for keeping him waiting that long, and by way of compensation offered him three thousand dollars, a thousand dollars for each year his sentence was overdue. Guy Studbacker accepted the money and assured the governor that he would not lodge any complaint for the oversight.

Two days after receiving his compensation for late execution, Guy Studbacker got another letter informing him of his coming execution by electrocution in a week’s time. All the inmates including the prison officials were sad upon hearing the news as all had grown rather fond of him. Guy Studbacker was offered counselling to prepare him for the great beyond, but he rejected the offer. On the day of execution, Guy Studbacker had a wash, shaved and dressed. His appetite was in no way affected by the coming execution, in fact, he did justice to a bucket of KFC fried chicken drumsticks, and meekly submitted to all the protocols which accompanied such occasions.

It was when he was being taken to his place of execution that Guy Studbacker ran amok. He struggled and gave one prison guard a black eye, smashed the eyeglasses of the prison official in charge of proceedings and planted his size twelve foot in the posterior of the prison chaplain. It took six guards to subdue him. The execution had to be indefinitely suspended while Guy Studbacker was taken to court the next day charged with assault, destruction of both private and public properties and resisting execution in breach of the law as laid down by the State of Vermont.

The presiding judge found Guy Studbacker guilty on all counts and consequently fined him a total of exactly three thousand dollars for the replacement of damaged properties and compensation to persons assaulted by Guy Studbacker, and in addition, sentenced him to three months in prison for resisting execution. The judge suspended the original execution order until Guy Studbacker had served the three-month prison sentence.

“Your Honour, did you just sentence me to three months in prison?” Guy Studbacker asked the judge, quite incredulous.
“Yes, Mr Guy Studbacker. Do you have any objection to my ruling?” asked the judge.
“No, your Honour,” Guy Studbacker replied, the full implication of the ruling beginning to dawn on him. Then his expression immediately changed, and his eyes gleamed in mischief. “Your Honour, with due respect sir, you are an idiot,” he told the bemused judge.
“Are you completely out of your mind?” the judge was scandalised. “If you say that again I shall have no option but to charge you for contempt of court.”
“I still say you are an idiot,” maintained Guy Studbacker.

The audience in the court laughed and whistled, egging Guy Studbacker on. The judge banged his gavel furiously on the table. “Order, Order, Order in court!” he shouted, his face red with anger and his beady little eyes flashing at Guy Studbacker.
“You can shout all you want, you little motherf**k** but you are still an idiot!” Guy Studbacker shouted animatedly at the judge to the accompaniment of more laughter from the court audience.
“That’s it, you asked for it. I hereby sentence you to three months in prison for contempt of court. You shall serve your total sentence of six months in full before your execution,” the judge told Guy Studbacker.

The moment the sentence was pronounced, Guy Studbacker quietened down. “Your Honour,” began Guy Studbacker, “I am sorry for my conduct just now. I don’t know what came over me. I deserve the extra sentence and shall serve it in full.”
The judge was so moved by Guy Studbacker’s composure and apology that he offered to withdraw the extra three months sentence.
“No, no, no,” protested Guy Studbacker. “A sentence is a sentence. I shall serve the sentence.”

In 1972 the State of Vermont abolished the death penalty. Four months into his six months prison sentence, Guy Studbacker received a letter from the state informing him that they regretted the fact that it would not be possible to execute him due to a new law recently passed by the Vermont Supreme Court, and in order to compensate him for the emotional torment he had been exposed to due to this latest development, the state was offering him two thousand dollars in compensation!

Guy Studbacker’s death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment with an option of parole after ten years. And because he had already served more than ten years with good behaviour except for that little incident at his aborted execution, which the kind and understanding parole board counted as a brief emotional breakdown brought about by stress, he was paroled, and he went on to become a successful evangelical minister!

Culled from “Jokes and Short Stories to Brighten Your Day” by Dr Gabriel Chukwu Uguru; In preparations.

Here’s wishing all of our readers a very Happy New Year. May all life’s vicissitudes in the new year have happy endings like Guy Studbacker’s.


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