Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were Italian immigrants and anarchists who were accused, tried, and convicted of a double murder in Braintree, Massachusetts.

On April 15, 1920, a paymaster and a payroll guard were shot to death during a payroll heist in Braintree, Massachusetts, near Boston. Three weeks later Sacco and Vanzetti were charged with the crime. Their trial aroused intense controversy because of a widespread belief that the evidence against the men was flimsy and that they were being prosecuted (and persecuted) for their immigrant backgrounds and radical political beliefs. Sacco and Vanzetti were followers of Luigi Galleani, a radical Italian anarchist who had instigated a wave of bombings against public officials just after World War I. The evidence was ambiguous as to the pairs' guilt or innocence, and no witnesses had gotten a good look at the perpetrators of the murder and robbery.

In 1921, the two men were convicted based on little evidence or testimony. The trial was marred by prejudice against Italians, immigrants, and radical beliefs. The pair were electrocuted in 1927. Their execution divided the nation and produced an uproar in Europe. Harvard Law Professor and later US Supreme Court justice Felix Frankfurter condemned the prejudice of the presiding judge and procedural errors during the trial. Today many historians now believe Sacco was probably guilty and Vanzetti innocent but that the evidence was insufficient to convict either one.

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