THE BALLARAT MURDER.
EXECUTION OF JOHNSTON.
[BY ELECTRIC TELEGRAPH.]
(FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT.)
MELBOURNE, May 18.
James Johnston, who murdered his wife and four children at Ballarat in December last, suffered the extreme penalty of the law this morning in the local gaol. Since the final decision of the Executive Council was made
known to Johnston he has been in apparently the best of spirits, and repeatedly said that he would be glad to die. Last night he slept soundly, and this morning he ate ravenously. He seemed to care nothing about his approaching doom. During yester- day he was taken out into the exercise yard, and gazed at the gallows with a smile. To- day he was still unable, or professed to be unable, to walk, and Jones, the hangman, was compelled to drag the chair on which he was seated on to the scaffold. Johnston looked round on those present scrutinisingly, and nodded a farewell to the Rev. T. R. Cairns, who has ministered to him throughout, and also to the sheriff. When asked if he had anything to say he shook his head as a negative. The execu- tioner then stood him on the drop and removed the chair. He held Johnston by the clothing while he adjusted the rope and cap. He then pulled the lever, and Johnston was swiftly hurled into eternity. The drop was about 6ft., and the muscular contractions of the body
lasted for about two minutes.
None but the officials whose duties necessi- tated their presence and the representatives of the Press were admitted, and there were only
twelve of the latter in all.
So far as is known Johnston has left no written statement.