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Top 10: The Execution of Mrs. Potts

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Published on Aug 27, 2010

While not significant in a strictly legal sense, the Potts case, nevertheless, earned its niche in Nevada history after one of the unsuccessful appellants, Elizabeth Potts, became the first, and only, woman ever executed in Nevada.

The rather gruesome tale leading to the double execution of Elizabeth Potts and her husband, Josiah, started, innocently, enough, when they were paid a visit by one Miles Faucett at their home in Carlin, Nevada. Although the true facts about what happened later that evening will probably never be told, one thing is certain, it would be the last social visit Miles Faucett would make in his life. Twelve months later his dismembered remains were found in the cellar of the Potts residence.

The Potts were convicted of murder and appealed to the Nevada Supreme Court, claiming that certain evidence had been improperly admitted and that the jury had been improperly instructed. After thorough review of the record, the Justices declined to reverse the judgment of the lower court.

Narrator: William J. Raggio. William "Bill" Raggio served in the Nevada State Senate continuously from 1973 to 2010, a term encompassing nineteen regular and thirteen special sessions. As a State Senator Bill Raggio held numerous posts including Chairman of the Interim Finance Committee, Minority Floor Leader, and Majority Floor Leader. Before beginning his distinguished career in the State Senate, Mr. Raggio served as Assistant District Attorney for Washoe County from 1952-1958 and was Washoe County District Attorney from 1958 to 1970. During his tenure with the Washoe County DA's Office, Senator Raggio held a position on the Board of Directors of the National Association of District Attorneys, serving as Vice-President and later as President. A native Nevadan, Senator Raggio received his B.A. from the University of Nevada at Reno and his law degree from the University of California at Berkeley. His honors include the National Distinguished Eagle Award, Boy Scouts of America; Eagle of the Year Award, Nevada Area Council, BSA; Honoree, Nevada Lung Association; and Hall of Fame, Washoe County Regional Transportation Commission.

Train photograph courtesy of Nevada State Library and Archives.
Photographs of Mrs. Potts and twin gallows courtesy of the Nevada Historical Society.

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