Wiechert recalled: “He said, ‘You know, the only thing I can find that you’ve ever written is your thesis from when you were in school. The judge stood up and said to the defense attorney, “This guy is an expert. “The only reason I got involved was because of my engineering,” Wiechert asserted.
Shut your mouth.” “I got a kick out of that,” Wiechert said. “I never got involved because I had a political argument.
After all the ceremony was over, I just flew my little airplane back home that night.” In addition to manufacturing and maintaining electric chairs, Wiechert was regularly called to testify as an expert witness when inmates appealed their sentences, citing the ban on cruel and unusual punishment. “The testicles get very small a week before the execution date.” He said he went to Florida a few times to testify in court as an expert witness in electrocution as a means of execution. I don’t write anything.’” The counselor declared Wiechert unfit to be called an expert, but the judge intervened and asked Wiechert how many chair systems he’d built.
One defense attorney was particularly combative while Wiechert was on the stand. “Well, I built all of them since the mid-70s,” Wiechert said. There’s nothing wrong with hanging.” But that didn’t mean he was a fan of capital punishment.
* * * orn June 28, 1943, in Brazilton, Kansas, Wiechert was machine-minded from an early age; he began working in his father’s blacksmith shop at the age of ten, where he often assisted in the repair of farm equipment.
Influenced by two engineer uncles, Wiechert later attended Kansas State University, earning his Bachelor’s and then his Master’s in electrical engineering.
“Back in the ’70s, the state of Arkansas couldn’t find anybody to build an electric chair,” Wiechert said – a state of affairs with parallels to the difficulty states have obtaining the lethal injection cocktail these days. He found one extremely helpful book, written by an executioner.