He should have been hung.
A pardoned villain. A fellow named Carroll, a free negro, has been arrested and imprisoned for horse-stealing in Wake county, N.C. This is the third offence. According to law he should have been hung for the second offence, but escaped, in consequence of some technical discrepancy in the proceedings. – He runs a slim chance of escape in the present instance; and surely if the penalty is strictly agreeable to the turpitude of his crime, he deserves it, especially for the third offence; but for ourselves we never could perceive the reason, the justice or righteousness of the law in such cases. Horse-stealing we regard as a high misdemeanor, but one which can only deserve incarceration in a penitentiary. – What! Deprive a human being of life for a stealing a horse? Horrible.
The Newbernian and North Carolina Advocate, 26 August 1843.