Home » Law & Government » Public Safety » Crime & Justice » Jesse Tafero was executed for two murders he did not commit. At his execution the electric chair malfunctioned, and the wrong sponge for conductivity was used, causing flames to shoot out of his head. The process took 7 minutes. After his execution, Walter Rhodes confessed to the murders.

Jesse Tafero was executed for two murders he did not commit. At his execution the electric chair malfunctioned, and the wrong sponge for conductivity was used, causing flames to shoot out of his head. The process took 7 minutes. After his execution, Walter Rhodes confessed to the murders.

Jesse Tafero

Jesse Joseph Tafero (October 12, 1946 – May 4, 1990), was wrongly convicted of murder and executed via electric chair in the state of Florida for the murders of Florida Highway Patrol officer Phillip Black and Donald Irwin, a visiting Canadian constable and friend of Black. The officers were killed during a traffic stop where Tafero, his wife Sunny Jacobs, and their children were passengers. After Tafero’s execution, the driver, Walter Rhodes, confessed to shooting the officers.

The crime, trial, and execution

On the morning of February 20, 1976, Black and Irwin approached a car parked at a rest stop for a routine check. Tafero, his wife Sonia “Sunny” Jacobs, their two children (ages 9 years and 10 months), and Walter Rhodes were fo… Continue Reading (5 minute read)

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