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About Clarion County

From History of Clarion County, published circa 1976, compiler unknown.

This admits
Foster M. Mohney
to the execution of Vincent Voycheck
on June 1, 1911 at 10:00 a.m.
at the Clarion County Jail
Clarion, Pa.

W. S. Smathers, Sheriff

This invitation to a hanging, the only execution in the history of the County, was issued to and used by the late Foster M. Mohney, who was Prothonotary and also served occasionally as Deputy Sheriff.  The card is a valued item among other historic articles owned by his son, Claude E. Mohney, of Clarion.

The execution was the punishment for a murder that occurred in Rimersburg on October 18, 1909.  An immigrant coal miner, Vincent Voycheck, stabbed to death his landlord Andrew StupkaVoycheck fled following the crime, but he was captured a few hours later by constable Frank Shearer, taken to the County Jail, and placed in the custody of Sheriff Win S. Smathers.

The trial against Voycheck began on March 1, 1910, before Judge Harry R. Wilson.  The District Attorney was William J. Geary.  Attorneys John T. Reinsel and John S. Shirley had been named counsel for the defense.  Among the numerous witnesses were several prominent people in the County.  There was a 12 man jury.  On March 4, the Jury reached a verdict, which read:

"We find the said defendant, Vincent Voycheck,
guilty of a felony and murder in the first degree."

Twenty days later, defense counsel entered a motion for a new trial.  This action was overruled by Judge Wilson and, on April 1, he pronounced the sentence:

"The sentence of the court is that you, Vincent Voycheck, be taken hence by the Sheriff of Clarion County to the Jail of said County and from there to the place of execution within the walls or yard of said Jail and that you be hanged by the neck until you are dead on the date the Governor of the Commonwealth shall appoint, and may God, in His infinite wisdom, have Mercy on your soul."

The sentence was carried out, as ordered, and it was 10:07 a.m. on June 1, 1911, that Voycheck was pronounced dead by hanging.  The clerk of courts at the time was Henry M. Hufnagel, whose hand inscribed the entire proceedings of the case.

The late H. Lee Carson, who witnessed the execution, said that the invitations issued by the Sheriff were highly valued, and that a goodly number of citizens were highly insulted when they were not invited.  He also stated that a woman, Zoe Himes, secretary in the courthouse office, pulled the cord that released the trap on the gallows.

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