North Carolina-Velma Barfield-November 10

North Carolina People, Places, and Things-November 10

I am the dad to five adult children. As they were growing up I attempted to remind them they were special and to implore them to learn something new. My goal was to do that daily.

In 2016 my goal is to learn something new daily on the people, places, and things that make North Carolina special. Everyday this year I am doing a post on what I have learned new.

Thirty-two years ago on November 2, 1984 in Raleigh NC 52 year old Velma Barfield, became the first woman in the nation executed by lethal injection. She was convicted of first-degree murder for the arsenic poisoning of her boyfriend, Stuart Taylor, in 1978.


After her arrest and the subsequent investigation, authorities discovered a pattern of mysterious deaths around Barfield. She eventually confessed to three other murders, including that of her mother. In her confession, Barfield claimed that she poisoned the others to hide the fact that she had stolen money from each to support her addiction to tranquilizers and painkillers. She argued that she only intended to make them sick to give her time to restore the funds she had taken.

Interestingly, her two husbands Thomas Burke and Jennings Barfield also died under unusual circumstances. Though it was believed she had a hand in those deaths as well, she denied accusations to that effect.

She refused offers of prison officials for a specially prepared last meal, choosing instead Coca-Cola and Cheez Doodles.

Barfield in buried in Parkton, NC next to her first husband Thomas Burke.

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