John A. Bennett bigraphy, stories - American soldier and rapist

John A. Bennett : biography

April 10, 1935 - April 13, 1961

John Arthur Bennett (April 10, 1935 – April 13, 1961) was a United States Army soldier who was convicted and executed for the rape and attempted murder of an 11-year-old Austrian girl. He is the last person to have been executed by the U.S. military.


Bennett was born in Virginia to a family of African American sharecroppers. He was epileptic, but managed to enlist in the U.S. Army when he was 18. Days before Christmas 1954, a heavily intoxicated Bennett left his base to find a brothel, but chanced upon an 11-year-old Austrian girl. He raped her, and then attempted to drown her in a nearby stream. He was convicted by a court-martial one month later and sentenced to death. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed Bennett's death warrant. Days before Bennett's scheduled execution four years later, the girl and her parents wrote to President John F. Kennedy, asking that Bennett's life be spared. Kennedy took no action on the appeals, letting his predecessor's death warrant stand. Bennett was hanged at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas in 1961.

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