January 18, 2020 Hours:
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P.O. Box 337, 17 George St.
Parry Sound, Ontario, P2A 2X4 
Email: info@museumontowerhill.com
Phone: 705-746-5365
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January 2020

Letter of Execution

This month, the Museum is highlighting a letter written to the Deputy Minister regarding the conviction of Marvin Harold McKee. McKee was 20 years old when he was found guilty of murder and sentenced to be hung at the district jail in Parry Sound on February 9, 1960. The letter recounts McKee’s hanging, his final wishes and his burial. At 12:05 am, McKee was removed from his cell and taken to the place of execution in the jail. At 12:09:35 am, the trap was sprung and 10 minutes and 55 seconds later McKee was pronounced dead at 12:20:30 am. McKee and companion Wayne Sluman were charged with the murder of Francis Grosso and Bruce Spiers, two taxi drivers from the Huntsville area. The young men were found guilty of manslaughter and murder, although Sluman was only given a 15-year sentence.

Before McKee was hung, he arranged to donate his eyes to the Eye Bank, which as the letter notes, was granted by Muskoka District Sheriff, W. B. Elliot. After his death, his body was prepared for burial, and interred later that morning on the grounds of the jail. Between 1892 and 1961, the mandatory penalty for any conviction for murder in Canada was death by hanging. In 1961, an act of Parliament divided murder into capital and non-capital categories, and with that, the last executions took place in 1962, with McKee being the last person hung in Parry Sound, and among one of the last in Canada. By 1976, the death penalty was removed from the Criminal Code and in 1998, capital punishment was abolished in Canada.

This letter is currently on display in the What’s New exhibition at the Museum on Tower Hill.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Phone: 705-746-5365 Fax: 705-746-8775 E-mail info@museumontowerhill.com
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Government of Ontario.