Fact Check

Death Row Inmate Survives Execution; Released from Prison

Rumor: A death row inmate was released from prison after two execution attempts failed.

Published Jun 23, 2014


Claim:   A death row inmate was released from prison after two execution attempts failed.


Example:   [Collected via Facebook, June 2014]

Peter Farmington survives execution in Dickson TN twice for a triple murder. True or False.


Origins:   On 20 June 2014, Empire News published an article positing that a multiple murderer had been released from prison after two attempts to execute him had failed:

A Tennessee death row inmate has been released from prison today after two attempts to execute him have failed. Peter Farmington was convicted of 3 counts of murder in the first degree when he pled guilty to murdering his wife and their two young children in March of 2006.

The prison warden, Joseph Goldsmith, called Farmington's survival "a divine intervention."

"We have two methods of execution in the state of Tennessee," said Goldsmith. "It is has always been our tradition to let the inmate choose how they want to go. Mr. Farmington is the first person to try their hand at both options. We are taking it as a sign from God that this man is just not meant to die."

Soon afterwards links and excerpts referencing this article were being circulated via social media, with many of those who encountered the item mistaking it for a genuine news article. However, the article was just a bit of satire from Empire News, a fake news web site that publishes fictional stories such as "Cure for Cancer Discovered; 'Amazingly Simple' Says Researcher," and "College Student Excused from Classes After Dog Eats Grandmother," and "Woman Gives Birth, Confuses Doctors by Asking for Maternity Test."

Empire News's disclaimer page notes that it "is a satirical and entertainment website."

Last updated:   5 June 2015

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.