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Once commonplace, executions a rarity – for now (access required)

Executions for capital crimes, once a common occurrence in North Carolina, have seen a dramatic slowdown in recent years. But the death penalty remains a hot-button topic, albeit one with an uncertain future. “The death penalty has been a part of North Carolina law since the state was a British colony,” says Jeffrey Welty, University of North Carolina professor of public law and government. “The first known execution by colonial authorities was the hanging of a Native American man in 1726.”

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