Commission defends display of noose used in Missouri's last public hanging

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GALENA, Mo. (KSPR) - A noose on display at the old Stone County courthouse is now in the middle of a disagreement. County leaders say it's history, while others say it shouldn't be displayed.

As soon as you walk onto the third floor of the old Stone County courthouse, you see a noose surrounded by several news articles about the last public hanging in Missouri. It happened on the courthouse grounds in Galena.

Stone County commissioners say they found the knot from the original noose, and the original restraining belt used when it happened back in the 1930s. They say it was found in someone's car, and decided to put it on display.

The president of Springfield’s NAACP doesn't think it should be there. She says she's planning to file a complaint to get it taken down. Another group, Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, said it’s OK with it being there if it's there in the right context.

County commissioners say it's about history.

"I wouldn't say we're proud of it, but it did happen, it's the last know public hanging, and here it is," said commissioner Mark Maples.

Commissioners have made no indication of any plan to remove the display.