Colorado Mass Murder

Long before terrorists took to the sky over the U.S., the Colorado Mass Murder of the 1950's was top news.


The reasoning behind it, was pure and simple, greed.  On November 1, 1955, a United Airlines plane took off from Stapleton Field with 44 people on board.

It exploded in flight near Longmont, all on board were killed.  It wasn't mechanical or pilot error.

The mass murder was concocted by a man named John Gilbert Graham.  Only 24 years old, this psycho and his greed led to the deaths of innocent people.


John needed money and he figured the easiest way was to go through his mother.  He wanted to inherit mom's insurance and estate.

The day of November 1st, Johns' mother boarded the DC6 to take a relaxing trip.  She took a trip alright.

Back in the 1950's insurance vending machines were common in airports.  So John took out a policy on his mother with himself as beneficiary.


He thought he was so smart.  He missed one thing, though.  His mother was suppose to sign the form.

Picture the scene: John bringing his mom to the airport, unloading her bags and checking them in himself.

Imagine the smile on his face as he lifted her suitcase loaded with 25 sticks of dynamite complete with timer, onto the baggage check.

He even paid for the overweight charge on the bag.  He kissed momma goodbye and wished her a good trip.


He probably left the airport humming to himself "We're in the money."

Almost immediately after take off, the plane exploded in mid air.  Debris rained down all over the area.

John was a happy man.  Until he tried to cash in his mother's flight insurance policy.

Had he been able to claim the money, he would have had about $37,000.  But since mom didn't sign the policy, he had nothing.


Authorities started investigating, looking a John as the prime suspect.

When the cause of the explosion was discovered, police started tracing where the dynamite and timer were purchased.

The evidence led them straight to John.  He was arrested in 1955, sentenced and then executed by gas chamber at the state prison in Canon City in January, 1957.

That's fast justice, unlike today.



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