Capital Punishment Essay: The Boston Massacre

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“It took only few hours for the tragic events to unfold on the evening in March of 1770, starting from a confrontation with the British regulars and ending with the death of five colonists. It took several years to get to the situation. The Boston Massacre is best understood in the context of several other key historic events.” “The heavy presence of British troops in Boston that lead to the fatal shooting was the direct results of the Townshend Acts passed by British Parliament to impose additional taxes on common products imported into the Colonies. These products among others included paper, glass and tea.”2 “On October 1, 1768 a group of British regulars arrived in Boston, MA to maintain order. The civilians reacted to the redcoats like…show more content…
“The guilty soldiers of the Boston Massacre, Kilroy and Montgomery, returned to court nine days after their trial, on December 14, 1770, for sentencing - which should have been the mandatory death penalty.”5 “However, according to English common law, felons convicted of some crimes, not affecting the king, were entitled to the 'benefit of clergy' for the first offence. The benefit of clergy was originally a provision by which clergymen could claim that they were outside the jurisdiction of the secular courts and be tried instead in an ecclesiastical court under canon law. Eventually, it was extended to first-time offenders who could receive a more lenient sentence. Kilroy and Montgomery entered a claim and were granted 'benefit of clergy' to avoid the death sentence for their part in the Boston Massacre. But before they were released they had to be branded on their thumb by red hot iron bearing the letter "M" for manslaughter. Felons were only allowed to claim the 'benefit of clergy' once, a brand made it impossible to do otherwise. The sheriff of Boston, Stephen Greenleaf, undertook the duty of court branding the two Boston Massacre soldiers. Kilroy and Montgomery reportedly burst into tears before receiving the painful punishment. Kilroy and Montgomery were then released, discharged from the army and sent back to Britain following the tragic events of the Boston
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