Women and Nevada’s Death Row: A Series

Nevada’s history of capital punishment is not unlike the rest of the United States. The state started in 1860 by hanging particular people who were guilty of first degree murder with various aggravating circumstances.

Nevada has a long history with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is because of this history and Mormon preferences that, in 1911, the Nevada State Legislature passed a statute that allowed death row prisoners to choose between firing squad and hanging. Only one man, Andriza Mircovich, choose to die from gunshot, which came from a shooting machine because the warden of the Nevada State Prison could not find five men to form a firing squad. In 1921, the state built a gas chamber and used it in place of hanging and gunfire from 1924-1979. From 1985-2006, Nevada has executed prisoners with lethal injection. Since the 1976 reinstallment of the death penalty, Nevada has executed 12 prisoners. The last to die was Daryl Mack on April 28, 2006. 

Nevada in history and present has not sentenced many women to execution. I have extensively researched the topic and found evidence that only two women have reportedly served time on Nevada’s death row: Elizabeth Potts in 1889 and Priscilla Ford in 1982.

In my upcoming series of “Women and Nevada’s Death Row,” I am going to investigate the two women’s cases. If it becomes apparent that the state sentenced another woman (or women) to death, I will include them as well. Together we will see if Potts and Ford legally deserved to be on death row, and examine whether capital punishment in the United States should even exist at all.




Obituaries; PASSINGS; priscilla ford, 75; was the only woman on nevada’s death row. (2005, Feb 01). Los Angeles Times Retrieved from http://unr.idm.oclc.org/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.unr.idm.oclc.org/docview/421952819?accountid=452


Cover Photo: Mine