Through history, the Norwegian society has dealt with serious crime in different ways. The death penalty has been used to a varying extent for the most serious offences. This article will discuss a murder that ended in a death sentence and execution in 1862.

One Sunday at the end of October 1861, a cottar’s wife died under suspicious circumstances at Elvål in Rendalen. It transpired that she had been poisoned by her son Per, who had given her a honey-cake laced with strychnine. Six months later, Per Marken was sentenced to execution by beheading.

Throughout the 19th century, capital punishment was a matter for discussion, both in Norway and elsewhere in Europe. There was a strong body of opinion that mankind had reached such a stage of civilization that the death penalty could no longer be defended. Most of those who were sentenced to death in the latter part of the 19th century were reprieved. But not all. Between 1859 and 1885, ten death sentences were executed. The sentence against Per was one of these. Capital punishment was finally abolished for civil crimes in Norway in 1902.