Victor Harry Feguer was a convicted murderer, the last to be executed in Iowa, and for thirty eight years was the last federal inmate executed in the United States.....and was from Michigan.

Born in St. Johns in 1935, he spent his youth in Michigan. 25 years later, in 1960, he up & went to Dubuque, Iowa. It was here where he concocted some sort of criminal plot.

He went to a crummy boarding house – one that he could afford – and rented a room. Once settled in, he began calling the local physicians, one-by-one in alphabetical order from the phone book. He was able to reach Dr. Edward Bartels, and told him he had a lady friend who was in dire need of medical attention.

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Now here's where it gets weird. When Bartells arrived, Feguer was able to kidnap him (at gunpoint, maybe?) and then used Bartels' own automobile to drive across the border to Illinois. Once across the border, Feguer dragged Bartels into a cornfield where he shot him in the head.

It didn't take long for Feguer to be found and arrested. Arriving in Birmingham, Alabama a few days after the murder, Feguer tried to sell Bartels' car to James Alford. Alford became suspicious when Feguer failed to produce a title for an out-of-state-car.....James contacted the FBI, who swiftly nabbed Feguer.

But what was Feguer's motive? What was his plan?

It was deduced that Feguer was attempting to acquire prescription drugs that the doctor might have brought with him. That was it? He just wanted drugs? So he did all that – kidnapping, fleeing across the border, murder, stealing a car, and attempting to sell it...just for a few "doctor's bag" drugs?

Federal charges were brought against Feguer for transporting a hostage across state lines. In his defense, Feguer came up with a doozy of an excuse. He said a drug addict from Chicago killed the doctor, so he killed the addict, and dumped his body in the Mississippi River. However, no body was found, no trace of any one that Feguer described, so Feguer was tried and convicted.

After being sentenced to death, the only person who could save him by overturning the sentence was President John F. Kennedy. Kennedy refused, saying the crime was too heartless and severe.

On March 5, 1963, Feguer was placed on death row at the Iowa State Penitentiary. When asked what he wanted for a last meal, he said he wanted just one olive with the pit still in it. Why? Feguer said he hoped an olive tree would grow out of his grave as “a sign of peace”.

After Feguer was hanged on March 15, guards found the olive pit in his pocket.

Victor Feguer made history as the last federal inmate executed in the United States, as well as the last one in Iowa. Thirty eight years later, Feguer's record was broken when Timothy McVeigh was executed in June 2001 in Indiana.

Feguer was not buried in his home town of St. Johns, Michigan...they planted him in the Fort Madison City Cemetery in Iowa.

Victor Feguer - Criminal From St. Johns


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