The Death Cell Confession of Anna Marie Hahn


A special edition of Yesterday’s News exploring the criminal justice system at its most extreme: Inflicting the Death Penalty.

This episode comes at the request of a faithful listener in Cincinnati who wanted to hear more about Anna Marie Hahn, the first woman to be executed in Ohio’s electric chair.

Although ‘Arsenic Annie’ had stoically proclaimed her innocence right up until her dying day, Anna Marie Hahn left a handwritten 20-page confession in her death row cell on December 7, 1938, when they led her to Ohio’s electric chair, literally kicking and screaming.

Three free meals! Tell 'em I sent you...
Three free meals! Tell ’em I sent you…

In the letter, she not only takes responsibility for six murders, she denies other poisoning attempts and goes into details about her life and how she began her series what the governor called cold-blooded and horrifying crimes when he made the final decision to take her to the chair.

The letter is such a remarkable and revealing self-portrait, more entertaining than her pathetic execution, that I gave it to a professional actress, my friend and colleague Emily Simer Braun, to help bring out some of the nuances in this rare insight into the mind of a serial killer.

Musical direction by Dave Sams


The_Cincinnati_Enquirer_Sun__Nov_7__1937_ (1)




The_Cincinnati_Enquirer_Thu__Dec_8__1938_ (1)



The_Cincinnati_Enquirer_Mon__Dec_19__1938_ The_Cincinnati_Enquirer_Mon__Dec_19__1938_ (1) The_Cincinnati_Enquirer_Tue__Dec_20__1938_ (1) The_Cincinnati_Enquirer_Tue__Dec_20__1938_ The_Cincinnati_Enquirer_Sun__Dec_18__1938_