This Day in History: April 13


On this day, April 13 …

1999: Right-to-die advocate Dr. Jack Kevorkian is sentenced in Pontiac, Mich., to 10 to 25 years in prison for second-degree murder in the lethal injection of a Lou Gehrig’s disease patient. (Kevorkian would serve eight years in prison.)

Also on this day:

  • 1743: Thomas Jefferson is born in Shadwell in the Virginia Colony.
  • 1861: At the start of the Civil War, Fort Sumter in South Carolina falls to Confederate forces.
  • 1943: President Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicates the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C., on the 200th anniversary of the third American president’s birth.
  • 1958: Van Cliburn of the United States wins the first International Tchaikovsky Competition for piano in Moscow; Russian Valery Klimov wins the violin competition.
  • 1964: Sidney Poitier becomes the first black performer in a leading role to win an Academy Award for his performance in “Lilies of the Field.”
  • 1970: Apollo 13, four-fifths of the way to the moon, is crippled when a tank containing liquid oxygen bursts. (The astronauts would manage to return safely.)
Pope John Paul II is escorted by Rome's Chief Rabbi Elio Toaff as they enter a Synagogue in Rome, Italy on April 13, 1986. It was the first recorded visit by a Pope to a Synagogue. (AP Photo)

Pope John Paul II is escorted by Rome’s Chief Rabbi Elio Toaff as they enter a Synagogue in Rome, Italy on April 13, 1986. It was the first recorded visit by a Pope to a Synagogue. (AP Photo)

  • 1986: Pope John Paul II visits the Great Synagogue of Rome in the first recorded papal visit of its kind to a Jewish house of worship.
  • 1992: The Great Chicago Flood takes place as the city’s century-old tunnel system and adjacent basements filled with water from the Chicago River.
  • 1992: “The Bridges of Madison County,” a romance novel by Robert James Waller, is published by Warner Books.
  • 1997: Tiger Woods becomes the youngest person to win the Masters Tournament and the first player of partly African heritage to claim a major golf title.
  • 2005: Eric Rudolph pleads guilty to carrying out the deadly bombing at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and three other attacks in back-to-back court appearances in Birmingham, Ala., and Atlanta.

  • 2009: “Wall of Sound” music producer Phil Spector is found guilty by a Los Angeles jury of second-degree murder in the shooting of actress Lana Clarkson.
  • 2018: President Trump announces that the United States, France and Britain carried out joint airstrikes in Syria meant to punish President Bashar al-Assad for his alleged use of chemical weapons. 

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