Finally, he was condemned to degradation and decapitation; though one of the ten judges not only refused to sign the sentence, but remonstrated in private with the king against its injustice.
However, because the muscles and vertebrae of the neck are tough, decapitation may require more than one blow.
After a trial before a special commission which was a parody of justice - the accused was not permitted to have any legal assistance or the use of writing materials - he was condemned to decapitation and promptly executed.
Thus, while in a proclamation to the Swedish people he represented the massacre as a measure necessary to avoid a papal interdict, in his apology to the pope for the decapitation of the innocent bishops he described it as an unauthorized act of vengeance on the part of his own people.
On the scaffold, "by the clemency of the empress," his punishment was mitigated to the severing of his right hand followed by decapitation.