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With the granting of the Writ of Error late in November 1886, Oscar Neebe's sentence to fifteen years at hard labor was stayed, as was the death sentence for the other seven defendants. When the Illinois Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Criminal Court, it fixed November 11, 1887, "as the time when the sentence of death upon said plaintiffs in error August Spies, Michael Schwab, Samuel Fielden, Albert R. Parsons, Adolph Fischer, George Engel, and Louis Lingg, by the Criminal Court of Cook County, Illinois, shall be executed."
Following the affirmation of the guilty verdict by the higher court, the Cook County Criminal Court immediately issued this Penitentiary Mittimus (from the Latin, "we send"). It orders the sheriff of Cook County to deliver Neebe to the warden at the state penitentiary at Joliet, south of Chicago. It also commands the warden "to take the body of the said Defendant" and confine him there, as the jury prescribed, for fifteen years. If newspaper stories can be credited, Neebe, the only prisoner granted bail, had been in the jail of his own volition since the time of the conviction as a show of solidarity with the other men.