"Justice has no statute of limitations" ..."I forgive my enemies and my persecutors" - John Gordon 1845"
Overview - Request for a Pardon / Exoneration

John Gordon was hanged in 1845 for a murder that many historians, and legal professionals, think he did not commit. I was asked by my constituents to introduce a House Resolution that would request the Governor Chafee to pardon John Gordon.

The story of John Gordon was told by way of a stage play, "The Murder Trial of John Gordon", which ran weekends from January 14th to January 27th at the Park Theatre in Cranston. The play was written by author and Newport resident, Ken Dooley. Attending this play, talking to many Rhode Island historians, and reading a lot of the background material has made me very aware of the facts of the case.

I have had the pleasure of getting to know Rhode Island historians: Patrick Conley, Scott Molloy, and Don Deignan; Legal experts: John Hardiman and Michael DiLauro from the RI Public Defenders office, Author Ken Dooley and Director Pamela Lambert; and many of the 23 actors who have been appearing in the play.

A House Resolution was submitted and referred to the House Judiciary Committee. On May 4, 2011, it was supported by the Committee on a 13 to 0 vote. On May 11, it was passed unanimously [70 to 0] by the full body of the House of Representatives and has been transferred to the Rhode Island Senate.

On Wednesday, June 29, 2011, Governor Lincoln Chafee granted a pardon to John Gordon at a ceremony held in the same room that John Gordon was tried and found guilty in 1844. http://www.ri.gov/press/view/14182

I added this segment to my website in order to provide one consolidated source of information regarding the hanging of John Gordon, the legislation to exonerate him, the experts who have testified on his behalf, and the play which sparked this effort.

There was a celebration at the St. Mary's Cemetery in Pawtucketon Saturday, October 8th. It was put on by the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, More information can be found on their website: http://www.friendlysonspawtucket.com   Father Bernie O'Rielly gave the Homily.

Note: The on October 9th, there was be a dedication of a granite Flagstone in memory of John Gordon at a ceremony on Sunday, afternoon, October 9, 2011,  at the Rhode Island Irish Famine Memorial.

If you have any comments on this issue or this website, please feel free to send an email to:

Rep. Peter Martin

This web site was originally created in January of 2011 -
Fields of Anthenry:     a short piano solo!