What happened on this day in history: William Kemmler becomes the first person executed by electric chair, the atomic bomb is dropped on Hiroshima, and other events from August 6th.
1890: The First Execution By Electric Chair Takes Place
Convicted murderer William Kemmler becomes the first person in history to die by electric chair. In 1881, dentist Albert Southwick first suggested electrocution as a means of execution more humane than hanging. And in 1889, an electrician at Auburn Prison in New York was tasked with designing an electric chair. The first shock failed to kill Kemmler despite burning his clothes and charring his flesh, but the second charge of 1,030 volts succeeded.
1928: Andy Warhol Is Born
Famed American artist Andy Warhol is born Andrew Warhola in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Warhol was a leading figure in the pop art movement of the 1960s, and his best-known works include the Campbell’s Soup Cans and Marilyn Diptych silkscreen paintings. He was also a filmmaker, creating underground films such as Chelsea Girls. Warhol died in 1987 after gallbladder surgery and dictated that his estate be used to create the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.
1945: The Atomic Bomb Is Dropped On Hiroshima
The American bomber plane Enola Gay drops an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, killing more than 80,000 people. The bomb, dubbed “Little Boy,” was dropped at 8:15 a.m. and destroyed five square miles of the city.
Though World War II was over in Europe, Japan refused to surrender. U.S. President Harry S. Truman then approved the use of the atomic bomb in an attempt to bring the war to a quick end rather than risk an even higher casualty rate by invading the country.
2000: The Alpha Dog Abduction Occurs
The Alpha Dog kidnapping is committed in Santa Barbara, California. Benjamin Markowitz hung out with the “wrong crowd,” and his half-brother, Nicholas, would pay for it. Local gang leader Jesse James Hollywood worked with Benjamin to sell drugs in the area. After Benjamin backed out, Hollywood wanted revenge.
Hollywood, along with other gang members, kidnapped Nicholas as he walked down the street. For the next few days, Nicholas was moved from house to house, playing video games with his captors, smoking, and drinking with them. Fearing a kidnapping charge, Hollywood hired someone to kill Nicholas. On August 9, a hitman shot Nicholas nine times, killing him.
2004: Cyntoia Brown Murders Johnny Allen
Cyntoia Brown, a 16-year-old victim of child sex trafficking, shoots and kills 43-year-old Johnny Allen, who she claimed offered her $150 to have sex with him. After meeting Allen in the parking lot of a Sonic Drive-In, she returned with him to his house. They never engaged in sexual intercourse, but Brown shot him in the back of the head, stole his money and two guns, and fled in his truck.
Brown was sentenced to life in prison for first-degree murder in November 2004, but Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam commuted her sentence to 15 years and she was released in 2019.