October 30, 1913
October 30, 1913
SALEM, Ore., Oct. 30 — Spanos and Seymour, Jackson County murderers sentenced to hang tomorrow for the murder of George Dedaskalous at Medford Sept. 5, 1912, have both been interviewed by newspapermen according to a custom inagurated by Governor West permitting doomed men to talk freely before their execution. Both still protest their innocence.
Both Spanos and Seymour continued to cling to the story told by them in the statement given to Warden Lawson several weeks ago. In this statement they charged Tom Frekas of Medford with the murder. They varied from it today only in saying they did not stake it during the trial because they were accusing each other.
"Spanos had accused me of the murder," said Seymour, "and I was fighting him. I, in turn accused him and tried to hang him."
"I think capital punishment is as cold-blooded murder as one can commit," he declared. "You take a man up to a trap, tie his hands and feet and his head until he is helpless and then break his neck.
"I've been up to the scaffold! I know what it is. I won't be surprised when I go into the death room. I was in there carrying mattresses and I went up on the scaffold and examined it.
"There is no suffering to capital punishment. In a second it is all over. It is just a cowardly way of taking a man's life. A man will suffer ten times more from life imprisonment."
Seymour says he is 19 years old, that he was born in Vancouver and raised in Portland. His father left his mother and kept him with him for a time, but finally left him in California. He joined the navy and at the end of a year deserted. He said that since coming to the penitentiary he has learned that his mother died two years ago.
Corroborated by Spanos
He drifted to Medford and said he had known the Greek, Mike Spanos, about five days before the murder of Dedaskalous. He is corroborated by Spanos in the statement that he was not even present when the crime was committed.
"I hope the women of this state will do away with capital punishment," stated Spanos. "To the victim it means nothing, for it is over in a second, but think of the misery it brings to mothers and sisters and wives. Life imprisonment is a greater punishment and it should take the place of hanging. Society will not be benefitted by my death nor will I be benefitted. It is just cold-blooded murder."
Spanos has a wife, who is now at Sacramento. She was at Medford during his trial. He also has a mother, and three younger sisters in Greece. He came to this country with his father who was accidentally shot and killed in Southern Oregon several years ago. He is 21 years old. He declares that both he and Seymour are innocent.