The Chilling Story of Andrew Pixley and the Wort Hotel
Last week, we looked at the last man to be executed in Wyoming history, Mark Hopkinson. Hopkinson was executed via lethal injection in 1992. Before that, the last capital punishment case in Wyoming that was carried out was that of Andrew Pixley in 1965, and the story of how he ended up sentenced to the gas chamber is a chilling true crime story in Wyoming history.
Pixley was born in New Mexico, and considered Dallas, Oregon as his hometown. On the night of August 5th, 1964, Pixley climbed a stack of wood and broke into a room at the Wort Motor Hotel in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The room was occupied by Circuit Court Judge Robert McAuliffe from Illinois and his family while they enjoyed Jackson as part of their vacation.
When the Judge and his wife came back to their room, they found Pixley laying on the ground, presumably intoxicated. McAuliffee pinned Pixley to the ground, and an officer in the area heard Mrs. McAuliffe screaming and came running to the room. The chilling words she screamed were: "My God, this man has killed my babies."
It was then that they discovered that two of the Judge's daughters had been killed in their beds. Debbie, 12, and Cindy, 8 had been sexually assaulted and murdered. The youngest child, Susan at only 6, was left alive and unharmed. She may have witnessed the attack on her sisters. Initially, Pixley only told police "I didn't do it," citing his Native American heritage as a reason for why he couldn't have done the heinous crime. A crowd outside the hotel initially called for him to be lynched, and Pixley was moved to the Wyoming State Penitentiary for better security.
Andrew Pixley was pronounced sane, but an incurable sociopath during his trial, and he insisted that he had no memory of the crime. He was convicted of the crimes and sentenced to death. It's said that he laughed when the execution date was announced. Pixley was executed by Gas Chamber at the Wyoming State Penitentiary on December 10, 1965. He took the longest time to die of any person ever executed by gas chamber.
Susan McAuliffe, who was 6 at the time of the attack and survived unscathed, married and went on to have five children.