The execution of Susan Tait, a sisal cleaner, happened on 20th August 1909. After the trial, the death sentence handed down to a woman, sent shockwaves through the New Providence community. Some called for the sentence to be commuted. Others however, took pen to paper and wrote decidedly for the sentence to be carried out in the interest of justice and lack of remorse on behalf of Susan Tait. The deceased Julia Bethel had two children, one blind and the other, an infant.
“…I fail to see the the execution by due process of law of the “unfortunate” if you please, Susan Tait carried out in privacy with due care and the absence of anything like violence or cruelty, after sixteen days time in which to make her peace with God can be more shocking that the murder of the unfortunate Julia Bethel stricken down like a brute on the highway weltering in her own blood and rushed into the presence of the eternal Judge without warning of time, leaving behind her to the cold charity of the cold world, two who were dependent upon her care and protection, a blind child and a helpless infant; a cold world I said, yes so cold that in a month sympathy is clustering around her murderer and destroyer of her children’s natural protector and she and her children forgotten.
The parties to this fearful tragedy are absolutely unknown to me, but from a public point of view, for the protection of the lives of the people, I say let the law take its course; the jury did their duty bringing their verdict, the Court did its duty in pronouncing sentence, so let justice be done.
No word of regret or remorse is recorded as having been expressed by the woman Tait for her act: she probably feels as many do the justice of her doom.”
EXECUTION IN THE PRISON
The execution of Susan Tait for the murder of Julia Bethel on June 26th took place within the Prison walls at ten minutes after eight o’clock yesterday morning in the present of a very small number of witnesses. The funeral service was conducted by the Rev. Audley J. Browne, Prison Chaplain, and the Rev. H.W. Weigall, M.A. The black flag was hoisted on the Prison Staff eight o’clock and half-masted ten minutes afterwards at the moment of execution, which was carried out perfectly smoothly. A large crowd gathered in the precincts of the Prison before eight o’clock. A Coroner’s Jury was summoned and met at 11 o’clock when a verdict of Death by hanging in accordance with the sentence of the Supreme Court of the Bahama Islands dated the 4th day of August 1909 was returned.
Medical evidence given at the inquest was to the effect that when the body was examined two minutes after the drop neither pulse nor respiration was present death having been instantaneous. At a subsequent examination it was found that death was due to displacement of the cervical vertebrae.
The last execution which occurred in the Colony was that of James A. Morrison who was hanged on November 14th 1885, twenty-four years ago.