Due to his high suggestibility, Joe Arridy, a mentally challenged individual with an IQ of 46, could easily be manipulated into saying or doing almost anything. Tragically, the police coerced him into confessing to a brutal mur*der he was innocent of, which ultimately led to his untimely demise.
When Dorothy Drain’s parents got home from work on the night of August 15, 1936, they found their 15-year-old daughter dead in a pool of blood. She had been hit in the head while she was asleep. Barbara, Dorothy’s younger sister, was also attacked and hurt, but she luckily lived.
People in the town and in the media were outraged by what happened, and they said that a s*ex-crazed ki*ller was on the loose. The police started looking for any man who fit the description given by two women who said they had been raped near the Drain house. The search was mainly for people who looked like they were from Mexico.
It must have been a relief for Sheriff George Carroll to find the ki*ller when Joe Arridy, a 21-year-old man who was found wandering aimlessly near the local railyards, admitted to k*illing the people.
Because Joe Arridy’s parents came to the United States from Syria, he has a dark skin tone, which is similar to what the other two women who said they had been raped in Pueblo said about him. Another thing that might have made his mental illness worse was that his parents were first cousins. This was called “imbecility” in the newspapers. A lot of Arridy’s siblings had died when they were young, and one of his other brothers was called “a high moron.” Joe Arridy himself had problems because his family was too close.
Joe Arridy was sent to the Colorado State Home and Training School for Mental Defectives in Grand Junction when he was 10 years old. For the next few years, he would come and go from the house until he finally ran away when he was 21.
Arridy spoke slowly, couldn’t tell the difference between colors, and had trouble repeating sentences that were longer than a few words. The man in charge of the state home where he lived said that other boys “often took advantage of” him. They were able to get him to admit that he had stolen cigarettes, even though he couldn’t have admitted it.
There’s a chance that Sheriff Carroll, like the other boys, knew that Joe Arridy was easy to influence. Even the prosecution admitted during the trial that they had to “pry” everything out of Arridy. Carroll didn’t even bother to write down what he said.
One of Carroll’s leading questions was to ask Arridy if he liked girls. He then asked, “If you like girls so much, why do you hurt them?” This makes it look like Carroll was tricking Arridy into confessing to the crime instead of doing a proper investigation.
Joe Arridy’s testimony changed quickly depending on who was questioning him, and he didn’t know basic facts about the murd*ers until they were told to him, like the fact that an ax was used as a weapon.
For everyone involved, it should have been clear that Arridy wasn’t guilty and that someone else k*illed the people. The most likely k*iller is Frank Aguilar, a Mexican man who was found guilty of the mur*ders and put to death after Barbara Drain identified him. But police in the area thought that Aguilar and Arridy were working together to commit the crimes. Even after Aguilar was put to death, people in Pueblo were still very angry. Three psychiatrists who testified at Arridy’s trial said he was mentally disabled and had an IQ of 46. However, he was still found guilty and given the death penalty.
Joe Is Executed
The defense for Joe Arridy said that he wasn’t legally sane and couldn’t tell the difference between right and wrong or do anything with criminal intent.
Since he had trouble explaining simple ideas like the difference between a stone and an egg, it’s possible that he didn’t understand what was right and wrong. Besides that, he might not have fully understood the idea of death. Roy Best, the prison warden, said that Arridy was the happiest person on death row.
He seemed more interested in his toy trains than in his death when he was told he was going to be ki*lled. Arridy asked for ice cream for his last meal. Arridy was taken to the gas chamber on January 6, 1939, after giving his favorite toy train to another prisoner. As the guards put him in the chair, he smiled. His execution went quickly, but Warden Best is said to have cried in the chamber.
In 2011, more than 70 years after Joe Arridy was put to death, Colorado Governor Bill Ritter released him from his sentence.