W. H. Aston , Guard

Oklahoma State Penitentiary

On Friday, July 30, 1948, Guard Aston had gone to the solitary confinement cell of Thomas Woods, 22, as Woods had extended a mirror from his cell, to observe the whereabouts of the guard, which was against the prison rules. When Aston opened the cell door, Woods jumped on him and started beating the guard’s head against the floor, wall and cell bars. Other guards rescued Aston and took him to the hospital where he was examined and, because he refused to be admitted, sent home. Aston’s conditioned worsened the next day and he was taken to a Holdenville hospital. He was found to have a fractured skull and intracranial bleeding. Aston died at 2 A.M. on August 4th. Aston was an ordained Methodist minister and a widower. He and was survived by his daughter and two sons.



Cox, Albert

Albert Jerald "Abe" Cox, Prison Farm Supervisor

Oklahoma Department of Corrections

Correctional Officer Cox, 47, was a supervisor at the State Penitentiary’s chicken farm on the prison grounds in McAlester on Saturday, March 5, 1977. At 12:40 P.M. that day both Cox and inmate trustee Edward Lyle Hall, 30, were discovered missing. At 4:45 P.M. Cox’s body was found in a chicken coop with multiple stab wounds and his throat slashed. Trustee Hall had taken Cox’s prison pickup and drove 80 miles southwest to the Washita River near Tishomingo where he kidnapped a farmer and his young son. A short time later he released them unharmed and took their car. Hall was tracked to Florida but never found. Cox left behind a wife and two children


Drover, Herman

Herman H. Drover, Bertillon Officer/OSP

Oklahoma Department of Corrections

Drover was one of seven people killed during a prison escape about 4:20 P.M. on Monday, January 19, 1914, at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester. Three escaping convicts became involved in a gun battle with Deputy Warden D. C. Oates near his office just as the 49 year-old Drover was coming out of his office and was killed by gunfire from convict Tom Lane. Six others also killed during the escape were the three convicts, Tom Lane, Chiney Reed and Charles Kuntz (or Koontz), Deputy Warden Oates, Day Sergeant F. C. Godfrey and attorney John R. Thomas.



Dunn, Jess

Jess Fulton Dunn, Warden OSP

Oklahoma Department of Corrections

About 10:45 A.M. on Sunday, August 10, 1941, four prisoners armed with homemade knives attempted to breakout of the Oklahoma State Penitentiary (OSP) in McAlester. The prisoners were Roy McGee, 37, Bill Anderson, 36, Claude Beaver, 39, all convicted armed robbers and Hiram Prather, 33, who was serving a life sentence for murder. About the same time that morning Warden Dunn, 49, was planning a new communication system and was touring the prison with J. H. Fentriss, an electrical engineer, R.W. Murray, a contractor and his 10 year-old son. The prisoners took the warden and the Fentriss hostage and told Murray and his son to leave. The prisoners then marched their two hostages into the yard, using them as shields. The east gate tower guards threw down their weapons and opened the gate when the lives of the two hostages were threatened. Warden Dunn had already been stabbed once at this point. The prisoners, now armed with guns, forced their hostages out the gate and into a car. Beaver was driving with the hostages by him in the front seat and the other three prisoners in the back seat holding them at gunpoint. The Pittsburg County Sheriff’s Office had been advised of the prison break. Deputies Bill Alexander and William A “Tab” Ford, former prison guards, quickly used their car as a roadblock three blocks north of the prison. As the car containing the prisoners and their hostages came to a stop at the roadblock, the prisoners ordered the warden to order the deputies to let them pass, which the warden did. Deputy Alexander told the warden he could pass but the other men would not be allowed to leave. One prisoner then shot Deputy Ford in the head. Another prisoner then shot Warden Dunn twice in the back of the head. Deputy Alexander returned fire. When the shooting was over Beaver, Mcgee and the warden were dead at the scene. Deputy Ford died a few hours later and Anderson died two days later. Prather was the only prisoner to survive his wounds and died in Oklahoma’s electric chair July 14, 1943. Fentriss was found in the floorboard of the car uninjured.


Gamble, Joe

Joe "Allen" Gamble, Sergeant

Oklahoma Department of Corrections

About 8:30 A.M. on Monday, June 5, 2000, Dorhee McKissick, an inmate at the Oklahoma State Reformatory in Granite, attacked Correctional Officer William Callaway and stabbed him 13 times with a homemade knife called a “shank”. Sgt. Gamble saw the assault and went to Callaway’s rescue during which McKissick stabbed Gamble twice in the neck. The wound severed both arteries in Gamble’s neck. Gamble died at 9 A.M. the next morning, June 6th, at Jackson County Hospital in Altus. Callaway survived the attack. Gamble was survived by his wife, Sherri, three sons and a step-son.


Godfrey, Fred

Fred C. Godfrey, Day Sergeant

Oklahoma Department of Corrections

Godfrey, 38, was one of seven people killed during a prison escape about 4:20 P.M. on Monday, January 19, 1914, at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester. Three escaping convicts, Tom Lane, Chiney Reed and Charles Kuntz (or Koontz) became involved in a gun battle with Deputy Warden D. C. Oates near his office just as Bertillon Officer Herman H. Drover was coming out of his office. Drover was killed by gunfire from convict Tom Lane. Oates ran down the hall for more guns and ammunition. The convicts burst into the office of Deputy Warden Oates and confronted stenographer Mary Foster, Day Sergeant Fred Godfrey, parole officer Frank Rice and attorney John R. Thomas. The convicts ordered everyone to raise their hands. The elderly Thomas moved to slow for them so Lane shot him fatally. Sergeant Godfrey then attacked Lane. Lane shot Sergeant Godfrey in the head, killing him instantly. The convicts then took Miss Foster and parole officer Rice as protection and hostages and moved back into the hallway where Deputy Warden Oates met them with a shotgun. Oates ordered Lane to drop his gun but Lane shot and killed Oates. The group then moved outside and got into a buggy. They started across the prison farm field. R. J. Richie, keeper of the prisons bloodhounds, pursued the group, caught up to them and was able to shoot and kill the three convicts.


James Payton "Pate" Jones, Security Officer

Oklahoma Department of Corrections

Shortly after 2 P.M. on Sunday, February 17, 1935, thirty-two prisoners at the State Reformatory at Granite were able to arm themselves, take a group of women and children touring the prison hostage and attempted to escape. As the prisoners and their hostages approached the front gate tower where Officer Jones, 65, was on duty, one of the prisoners, Bennett Pat Casey, 22, a five-time convicted burglar, fatally shot Jones with a shotgun. Jones’s wife was standing on the front porch of the officer’s barracks a short distance away and saw her husband shot down.


William Jessie Marshall, Guard

Oklahoma Department of Corrections 

About 5 PM Thursday, June 15, 1911, Marshall, 40, was finishing his shift as a guard at the convict camp west of Cordell. As he descended the steps of the guard tower his revolver slipped from his hand with the gun’s hammer striking the steps underneath him. The revolver discharged with the bullet passing through his body and coming out under the right shoulder. Marshall was transported to the Cordell hospital for treatment but died at 6 AM the next morning. Marshall was survived by his wife and was buried in Granite where they lived.


William R. Mayfield, Supervisor

Oklahoma Department Of Corrections

On Tuesday January 19, 1926, William Mayfield was supervisor for the brickyard at the State Penitentiary in McAlester. One of the prisoners in the brickyard that day was George McCall. McCall was originally sentenced to five years for burglary but in 1925 he killed his cellmate and received and additional twenty-five year sentence. McCall had a plan to escape on this Tuesday. McCall threw a brick at Mayfield striking him in the back of the head causing a deep wound and a fractured skull. Other prison guards then shot McCall. Mayfield died of his head wound the next morning. His wife and four children survived him.


Jeffery Matthew McCoy, Probation and Parole Officer

Oklahoma Department of Corrections 

On Friday, May 18, 2012, a little before noon, Officer McCoy, 32, went to the address of 1440 Maple Drive in Midwest City for an unannounced visit with one of his clients. Another man named Lester E. Kinchlon, 21, answered the door of the residence and immediately knocked officer McCoy off of the porch. The two men fought into the street where McCoy was knocked unconscious and Kinchlon was able to take control of McCoy’s service weapon and shot him in the head killing him. When Midwest City Police arrived Kinchlon fired several shots at them. McCoy had been a parol officer  for 7 years. McCoy was survived by his wife Megan, their son, Alex, 7, and their daughter Allie, 4.  In December 2012, Lester Kinchlon plead guilty to First Degree Murder and was sentenced to life in prison without parole. He also plead guilty on two weapons charges and was sentenced to another life in prison term plus 10 years.



David Cannon Oates, Deputy Warden, OSP

 Oklahoma Department of Corrections 

D. C. “Pat” Oates, 44, was one of seven people killed during a prison escape about 4:20 P.M. on Monday, January 19, 1914, at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary (OSP) in McAlester. Three escaping convicts, Tom Lane, Chiney Reed and Charles Kuntz, became involved in a gun battle with Deputy Warden Oates near his office just as Bertillon officer Herman H. Drover was coming out of his office and was killed by gunfire from convict Tom Lane. Oates was then shot and killed by the convicts. Day Sergeant F. C. Godfrey and attorney John R. Thomas were also shot and killed during the escape. All three convicts were shot and killed just after they left the prison walls. 

Oates had served three years as a Deputy Sheriff and four years as Sheriff in Woods County before being appointed as Deputy Warden of the State Penitentiary in 1909. Oates was survived by his wife Beulah and two children Marjorie and William.


Rex Thompson, Corrections Officer

 Oklahoma Department of Corrections

 On August 31, 1981, Michael Sullinger, 21, was serving a two-year sentence on a conviction of assault and battery with intent to kill at the Lexington Correctional Center. He had served eight months at the time. After an earlier confrontation between inmates, a general lockdown was in progress at the Correctional Center. At approximately 7:00 P.M. Sullinger approached Officer Thompson. It looked as though he asked Thompson a question as Thompson raised his hand and shook his head as if to say I don’t know. Then Sullinger twisted a little to the side and then hit Rex in the left jaw.  Thompson made about a quarter turn then landed on the sidewalk, not even trying to catch himself.  David W. Goodson, a Lexington prison guard stated Thompson fell backwards hitting his head on a one inch steel frame that separates the control center’s glass windows. Also according to Goodson, Sullinger started jumping up and down like a boxer. Other prison guards ran to the area and wrestled Sullinger to the ground and placed him in restraints. Officer Thompson was taken to Purcell Hospital and later transferred to St. Anthony Hospital in Oklahoma City where he died from his injuries at 6:20 A.M. the next morning, September 1, 1981. Officer Thompson was survived by his wife and two children. Sullinger was charged with second-degree murder.


William C "Bill" Turner, Guard Foreman

Oklahoma Department of Corrections 

Bill Turner joined the staff of the Oklahoma State Penitentiary at McAlester in 1931and soon was made a foreman of guards. Turner was the guard assigned to accompany Matt Kimes, once the state’s number one bad man, when Kimes was permitted to leave the prison walls to go quail hunting during the season. The afternoon of Thursday, July 18, 1935, Turner was supervising a group of three prisoners working on the prison farm about a mile from the main prison buildings when he was struck by a bolt of lighting killing him instantly. The horse Turner was riding was also killed. The three prisoners were stunned and burned also by the lighting bolt. They were hospitalized but were not seriously hurt. Turner was survived by his wife and three children.

Eugene L. Young, Probation and Parole Officer

Oklahoma Department of Corrections

Young, 60, was working at the Oklahoma City office of the State Parole and Probation Department. On the afternoon of Friday, July 28, 1989, parolee Huey Don Turner, 23, was being arrested during his visit to the office preparatory to having his parole revoked. Turner resisted violently and Young was one of five-corrections officers called to subdue him. A short time later, Officer Young suffered a heart attack and died at Presbyterian Hospital in Oklahoma City.  Officer Young was the only Oklahoma law enforcement officer to die in the line of duty in 1989.