An Execution in Virginia
On August 16, 1912, Virginia Christian became the only female to die in the electric chair in the state of Virginia. She was a 17 year old (her age was the subject of debate) African American juvenile who had been convicted of the murder of her white female employer, Ida Belote. Virginia and her family was sharecroppers on the woman's farm. I discovered the case when I was during research for Blood on Her Hands, a book about women and murder. In Old Murders, I change the details of the case a bit and move it up to 1955. This is the case from the past that Lizzie finds herself probbing as two land developers in present-day Gallagher battle for the contract to develop the city's waterfront. Lizzie is also trying to find out what happened to a talented young artist/Piedmont State student who has gone missing.