What the man didn't realize was that he was to be the first man executed under a new capital punishment. His trial was short on May 10, 1889 he was condemned under first degree murder, and on the 13th sentenced to death within three weeks. William Kemmler was the first man in New York sentenced to death in 1889. Thus, he was to be the first man ever executed using electricity. Almost immediately a temporary stay of execution was granted, based on an appeal filed by W. Bourke Cockran. The new device, Cockran claimed, violated the Eighth Amendment, as it was cruel and unusual punishment. Cockran was a very prestigious lawyer hired by George Westinghouse. Westinghouse was the electric generator suppliers for this execution and they didnít want their company to be linked with death. After much arguing on the fact that the executions were to be painful and inhumane went now where, the appeal to this case was denied. On August 6, 1890 at 6 A.M. Kemmler was placed in the chair. When the lights indicated that the voltage level was at 2000, the experiment level to kill a human the switch was pulled. After 17 seconds one of the witnesses and the idealist inventor stated(Southwick)"here is the culmination of ten years work and study!! We live in a higher civilization from this day." They were wrong!
Kemmler was still alive, they gave him seconds of gasping then for another instant when the chair was ready the poor man sat there for a whole minute having himself basically burned.
Though the media was shocked at the situation and Kemmler suffered severely future executions would go more smoothly.
The electric chair deaths were traditionally only in America.