Sabotage: The Downing of Flight 629
"I Want to Die!"
Graham's attorneys vowed to appeal the verdict and they later succeeded in obtaining a postponement of the original execution date. Graham was sent over to Colorado State Prison at Canon City to await further developments. There he prepared an affidavit in which he said, "I accept the verdict of the jury and desire that it be carried out with all convenient speed. This is my wish." Despite newspaper reports to the contrary, Graham accepted his death sentence and soon, he became resigned to his own death. Though his lawyers vowed an appeal, they did so without his permission. "I don't want any part of any appeal," he said in court on May 14, "I don't see why it can't stop right here!" A lot of people felt the same way. Graham's attorneys appealed to the state court listing dozens of alleged errors during his trial. Though the prosecution denied any wrongdoing, D.A. Keating supported the right of automatic appeal on the state's death verdicts. "I can never get used to a jury coming in with a death verdict," he commented to reporters from the Longmont-Times.
In the meantime, Graham's wife, Gloria, then 22, vowed to stand by her husband. "I still love him and I'm right behind him!" she once told reporters from the Longmont Times. Throughout the trial she remained steadfast in her support but newspaper reports describe her as "pale from lack of sleep." However, she did not attend the proceedings every day. Near the end of the trial, she was noticeably absent from the courtroom. According to friends, Gloria had taken a trip to nearby Glenwood Springs with her two small children. A relative told the press, she "needed some rest and had gone swimming." Gloria had also reported to police that she had received several threatening phone calls in the middle of the night.
Graham's "I want to die" statements took a serious turn when he attempted suicide. While he awaited the outcome of his attorney's appeal, Graham decided to end the waiting himself. In September 1956, he was found unconscious in his cell. He had tried to kill himself by tying two socks around his neck and hanging himself from the bars. Guards rushed him to the hospital where he made a full recovery. Courts later ruled that Graham was well enough to face execution.
Anti-death penalty advocates soon joined in the case. They filed additional appeals on Graham's behalf in an attempt to stop the execution. They appealed to the governor of Colorado to spare his life. Nevertheless, Graham was adamant. "I don't see why I should have to make a political rally or something out of this!" he told the court, "I believed I had a fair trial as could be had under the circumstances."