The Last Man to Be Hung In Manitoba
By George Siamandas
© George Siamandas
During a crime of passion Henry Malanak killed a policeman and had to pay the ultimate price. Today we tell the story of Henry Malanik, the last man to be hung in Manitoba 48 years ago this week June 17, 1952. It was 1950 and the City of Winnipeg Police Department would lose another officer in the line of duty. Detective Sergeant Edwin "Ted" SIMS was shot to death at the scene of a domestic dispute at 19 Argyle Street. The murderer, Henry MALANIK, was convicted and was the last man executed in Manitoba.
Malanik had come to Canada as a child in 1912. He had a grade 4 education. He had been convicted of several break and enters at age 17 but had no further troubles with the law till 1950. Malanik began an affair with Olga the wife of Adolph Kafka his childhood friend and best man. It was a fight over Olga's affections that resulted in a gun battle at their house in Point Douglas. Malanik and Kafka were each fined $50. Tragically, several months later their guns were returned to them.
KILLING OF POLICEMAN TED SIMMS
In July 15, 1950 Malanik was thrown out of a wedding reception for being drunk and disorderly. He went to the Argyle St house to see Olga where he and Adolph got into a knife fight sending Adolph to hospital. The police were called and Detective Sargent Ted Simms along with Det Jack Peachell and Det William Anderson attended the house. Malanik had fled but returned with a double-barrelled shotgun. In a gun fight Malanik killed Simms with a shotgun blast to the abdomen. Detective Peachell emptied his gun discharging 5 shots at Malanik. Three found their target. As the gunfire continued another rookie policemen shot Detective Andersen in the neck by mistake. He would later be fired from the force.
In Oct 1950 Malanik went on trial, his lawyer pleading for a manslaughter charge. After 40 min the jury returned a guilty plea, and Malanik was sentenced to hanging. Judge Kelly had reservations believing Malanik may have been too drunk to form an intent to kill. This was enough for an appeal. Malanik was retried in May 1951 and once again found guilty. This time judge Williams had no doubt of Malanik's guilt. The case was appealed to the Supreme Court where it was denied.
THE LAST HANGING
At 2:00 am June 17, 1952, as 40 witnesses watched, Henry Malanik was led into the execution chamber. Executioner "Camille" wearing a black beret and a Hawaiian shirt pulled the lever. As Malanik hung from the rope, blood began to spurt. His jugular had been severed. Two minutes later he was pronounced dead. It was the last time a man was hung in Canada's most humane and modern prison, Manitoba's Headingley Jail. Hangings continued at other provinces till 1962.
From time to time the issue comes up. The Reform Party supports capital punishment, as do approximately 69% of Canadians. In the US capital punishment is available in 38 states, where homicide is ten time more prevalent than in England.