1957: Last hanging in B.C.

The last hanging in B.C. occurred at Oakalla Prison farm when Leo Mantha, aged 33, was hanged on April 28, 1959.

A former correctional officer who started working at Oakalla in 1953 was present when hangings were still taking place. Senior staff were asked to participate, but generally tried to avoid it. At first, the correctional officer was nonchalant. It was “an experience that I didn’t think would bother me at Oakalla,” he said. Experience taught him differently, however. “I would have tried to find a hole to climb into” to avoid being involved, he later commented. He thought about the hangings for days, weeks, and even months after they happened.