Juan Ignacio Blanco  


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Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Convicted of murder for helping her lover to kill his wife
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: May 4, 1872
Date of arrest: 6 days after
Date of birth: 1854
Victim profile: Mrs Spann (his lover's wife)
Method of murder: Strangulation
Location: Webster County, Georgia, USA
Status: Executed by hanging in Preston on May 2, 1873

The New York Times - May 10, 1873

A woman hanged

In 1872 Susan Eberhart was convicted of murder for helping her lover to kill his wife. The Atlanta Constitution ran a story about her hanging in Georgia that covered slightly more than four full columns of text. In an editorial sermon about her, the Constituion said that Miss Eberhart not only committed murder, but also committed adultery and "violated the sanctity of marriage." She was apparently the housekeeper of the married couple.


May 2, 1873 - Susan Eberhart (white, aged between 17 and 21) was hanged in Preston, Stewart County, Georgia for helping her employer, Ferdinand Spann, to kill his wife, who had been strangled to death. They were arrested six days after the killing and tried and sentenced less than a month after the murder.

Susan went to the gallows in a new dress and bonnet supplied by the sheriff and with her hair "neatly braided." She told the crowd of about 700 witnesses that she did not mind dying as she would be better off. Like her victim, Susan also strangled when her turn came to die. It seems that Ferdinand Spann had his death sentence commuted, even though he may well have been the real murderer.


Hanging of Susan Eberhart

The Georgia Enterprise

On Friday last SUSAN EBERHART was hung at the court house of Webster county for the offense of complicity in the murder of Mrs. Span, the wife of Susan's paramour. Most of our readers have heard how Spann attempted time and again to murder his wife and was as often prevented by this girl whom he had promised to marry after his wife was dead. Dragging Susan Eberhart from her bed one night, he succeeded in murdering his wife, and forced the unfortunate girl to witness and partly participate in the dark and damning crime. For this they were both sentenced to be hung- and both have been hung at the same place, on the same scaffold, with the same rope, and within the short space of three weeks apart. The sickening sight of her death struggles are too horrible for description.

It was a gloomy day in Georgia when this friendless girl perished on the scaffold for this crime. A few hours before the execution it is said that the heavens seemed to weep at the terrible tragedy that was about to be enacted in the South Western portion of the State. The rains descended from the black clouds in torrents and all around seemed clothed in darkness and despair. Appeal after appeal had been made to the Governor for a respital of her sentence. Even the jury that convicted her begged that justice be tempered with mercy, and the poor creature be spared to live.- But all in vain! The iron heart of the Governor of Georgia was too hard to be touched by such pitiful appeals, and turning a deaf ear to all their entreaties, refused to either fully pardon or commute her sentence, and she was hung.

If this young girl's confessions and statements just before her execution can be believed, she was more sinned against than sinning. A brute and half crazy demon under the garb of a man forced and compelled her to assist in the murder. She begged and with tears in her eyes implored him not to kill his wife, but holding her by the hands he madly swore he would do it if he was  hung in five minutes after. The only part she took in the murder was to hand Spann the handkerchief when he called for it. She did this through fear and compulsion. And what unsophisticated young girl could have refused him anything at such a time and scene? But she is dead. Her soul has gone to the great God who gave it; and idle words can avail nothing now. If we understand the nature of the appeals made to the Governor from the citizens of that section in her behalf, we must say that he exercised the power of a tyrant in refusing to show mercy.

Her career is ended. Poor, unfortunate, friendless, young and beautiful, she has paid now the full penalty for the crime she was charged with. Let her faults be as countless as they may, they now slumber with her remains in the disgraceful grave that she has been compelled to fill.



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