Velma Barfield

Robert Priseman2014

Florida State University Museum of Fine Arts

Florida State University Museum of Fine Arts

The first woman to be executed by lethal injection was Velma Marge Barfield.

Born on the 23rd October 1932, in North Carolina, by the age of 19 Barfield had 2 children by her then husband, Thomas. In 1966 Thomas was injured in a car crash after which Velma became depressed and addicted to prescription drugs. Thomas died in 1969 and Velma re-married Jennings Barfield in 1970. Six months later Jennings died of arsenic poisoning and in 1977 Barfield began a relationship with Stuart Taylor. She took out forged cheques from his bank account and when he became suspicious she mixed rat poison into his beer. He later died and Velma was charged with his murder. During interrogation she also confessed to killing her mother and two elderly people; John Henry Lee and Dollie Edwards.

Barfield was subsequently executed on the 2nd November 1984, at the Central Prison in Raleigh, North Carolina.

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