In March 1912 Virginia Christian is a 17 year old African American who worked as a servant for Mrs Ida Virginia Belote age 72 in Hampton, Virginia. Mrs Belote had asked Christian to launder some clothes. When Christian returned, she was accused of stealing a skirt and a gold locket. Belote hit Christian with a spittoon and Christian grabbed a broomstick and hit her. When Belote started screaming, Christian stuffed a towel in her mouth. She claims that she never meant to kill Belote and left her alive. Christian was tried and found guilty of first degree murder and sentenced to death.
On August 16, 1912 Virginia Christian became the first woman executed in the state of Virginia. Pleas of clemency arrive from all over the country but Governor Mann of Virginia declined to intervene. The sentence was carried out by electric chair.