William Frank Smith, an officer with the Homestead Borough Police Department, was shot and killed on October 6, 1920, by Ernesto Martinez, a Mexican “maddened by smoking Indian hemp or hasheesh.” Police had responded to reports of a man with a gun.
After killing Smith, Martinez moved through Homestead before barricading himself in a home. He was found there by pursuing officers and shot numerous times. He died at the scene. Two other officers were also injured by Martinez.
Author: Bill Lofquist
I am a sociologist and death penalty scholar at the State University of New York at Geneseo. I am also a Pittsburgh native. My present research focuses on the history of the death penalty in Allegheny County (Pittsburgh), Pa.
This website is dedicated to collecting, analyzing, and sharing information about all Allegheny County cases in which a death sentence was imposed.
Please share any questions or comments, errors or omissions, or other matters of interest related to these cases or to the broader history of the death penalty in Allegheny County.
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