New York Correction History Society:
In Memoriam

  • NYCHS dedicates the Timeline below to the memory of correctional personnel -- uniformed and civilian; city, county, state, and federal -- who died in the line of duty in New York.
  • Submit memorial roll entries by e-mail to the NYCHS webmaster. Include "For Honor Roll" in the subject title.
  • Anonymously submitted entries will not be considered. All entries considered will be fact-checked before posting.

In Memoriam list & accompanying images from NYC DOC Medal Day 2011 booklet Pages 29 &30.
Kelly to Parole Board: June 2010: Recent addition to the Continuing Story of C.O. George Motchan
Meet Al Margolis, the 'Mench' in DOC Fiscal 40+ Years
A Rikers Island Employee ID Card? Yes. Meet George Rothaizer Who Had One
Matron Margaret Grosjean.
Memorial card for Kenneth M. Miley, retired Correction Officer.
C.O. Leslie Hills mourned as a 'Woman of Valor'
The passing of Bronx historian John McNamara, 91, NYCHS friend.
Milton Roth: Psychologist & Warden -- 35 Years in NYC DOC
Medal of Honor Rite at Auburn Inmate Grave.
Virtual visit to National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in D.C.
NYS Parole Officers Memorial Dedication
Benjamin Ward, Retired NYPD, NYC DOC & NYS Correction Commissioner
NYS DOCS 2002 Memorial Ceremony.
From 1922: The 33rd Name Added to NYS DOCS Memorial Room Wall
NYC DOC Medal Day 2002 journal "We Remember" list of deceased members
NYC DOC Medal Day journals' In Memoriam lists: 1991, 1993, 1996 , 1997
Commissioner Anna M. Kross' In Memoriam Lists: 1954-65
In Memoriam from 1964 NYC DOC newsletter: Thomas McDonnell
Alfred M. Mandanici (April 8, 1922 -- March 19, 2002)
Obit & bio of 1st African American Commissioner Benjamin J. Malcolm
NYS DOCS dedicates employee memorial at Training Academy in Albany.
Rikers judicial center named for former COBA, CCA president Donald J. Cranston.

Timeline of Correctional Personnel
Who Died in Line of Duty in NY

July 11, 1861

Clinton State Prison Keeper Augustus T. Wright is killed as the result of being struck with an iron bar during an attack at the iron ore processing plant when seven inmates escape from the prison.

March 18, 1869

Sing Sing State Prison Keeper Edwin A. Craft, escorting five inmates to work in the mess hall, is overpowered and strangled during an escape attack.

Feb. 8, 1877

Auburn State Prison Keeper H. A. Casler dies from a severe beating by a convict.

May 6, 1880

Elmira Reformatory Principal Keeper George McKelvey, entering a cell to handcuff an inmate for a disciplinary infraction, is fatally stabbed in the heart with a knife.

Jan. 9, 1887

Turnkey John Walters was killed by Charles Johnson and Edward Caldwell, who had stolen some horses in Seneca Falls and were put in jail to await trial. While attempting to escape, they bludgeoned their jailer, Walters, to death with an iron stove shaker. Caldwell turned states evidence. Johnson was hanged at Waterloo on Nov. 15, 1888.

Oct.19, 1900

Hugh McGovern, 51, with an unblemished 20-year service record as a keeper, was on duty in 7th District Prison attached to the old Police/Magistrates Court on West 54th Street, Manhattan, when prisoners Arthur Flanagan and Frank Emerson, both jailed on burglary charges, engaged in an escape. Flanagan had a hack blade smuggled to him by a female acquaintance. Keeper McGovern was beaten to death with a sawed-off cell bar. Emerson, while climbing down the side of the building on a bed sheet, fell to his death. Flanagan was caught days later.

Jan. 9, 1901

Prison Guard Archibald Benedict at Auburn Prison is killed by Clarence Egnor because the officer reported him for talking in the prison cloth mill where the guard supervised 17 inmates. Egnor hit Benedict over the head, then wrestled Benedict?s gun from him and shot him with it. Egnor was executed in the electric chair at Auburn Prison on Sept. 14, 1903.

Sept. 27, 1906

Head Attendant Nellie Wicks at Matteawan State Hospital is fatally stabbed by an inmate. Employed at the hospital for the criminal insane one year, she had planned to leave the hospital in four days to enroll in nursing school.

June 22, 1916

Officer Daniel J. McCarthy at Sing Sing State Prison is shot to death by an escaping inmate who was awaiting execution. The inmate was recaptured and executed eight days later.

Dec. 12, 1917

Superintendent Dr. Charles H. North at Dannemora State Hospital is fatally stabbed in the back with a chisel by an inmate. Dr. North, superintendent for 13 years at the hospital for insane criminals, had finished speaking with the inmate about making toys.

April 17, 1919

Officer Charles I. Gunter,assigned to the tuberculosis hospital at Clinton State Prison, is fatally struck on the head during an attempted escape by two inmates.

March 29, 1922

Clinton shop foreman Joseph A. Weitekamp dies from burns and smoke inhalation sustained 11 days earlier fighting a fire in the clothing shop. After inmates had finished working and left, he discovered the fire under a cutting table, telephoned for assistance, and returned to fight the fire alone while awaiting reinforcements.

July 24, 1923

Officer Jesse Christian,assigned guard duties at the Institution for Defective Delinquents, later known as Eastern Correctional Facility, is fatally struck on the head during a mess hall riot.

Nov. 3, 1926

A warden and keeper are shot and killed at the Tombs during a prison break. They were: Warden Peter A. Mallon and Keeper Jeremiah Murphy. Three prisoners also died in that shootout.

Nov. 17, 1927

Principal Keeper James B. Durnin at the Auburn State Prison, is fatally stabbed by an inmate with an improvised knife as Durnin stood outside the mess hall door.

July 19, 1928

Keepers Morris Broderson and Daniel Horgan were fatally shot by a Bronx County Jail prisoner attempting to escape. The inmate, who somehow had obtained two guns to try breaking out, killed himself with one shot to the head afer being unable to make good his escape despite having slain the keepers.

Dec. 11, 1929

Principal Keeper George A. Durnford at the Auburn State Prison, is fatally shot confronting armed rioting inmates who had taken the prison's warden hostage in a escape plot.

March 5, 1930

Principal Keeper Edward B. Beckwith is in the mess hall with 900 inmates at the Auburn State Prison when he was suddenly attacked and stabbed seven times by an inmate.

Nov. 27, 1932

Deputy Warden William J. McConnell is killed when, despite a gun pointed at him, he courageously refuses to hand over the keys to desperate criminal Red McCormick attempting to escape the Raymond St. Jail in Brooklyn. "Headkeeper" McConnell's brave stand thwarts the escape effort but costs him his life.

March 25, 1934

Guard Daniel J. Nickerson at Clinton State Prison is fatally stabbed when he tries to fellow officers under attack by an inmate armed with a knife. They had attempted to search the inmate when he attacked them.

March 21, 1940

Keeper James H. Donovan, assigned as a kitchen keeper at Auburn State Prison, is fatally struck on the head by an inmate using an eight-pound iron handle from a machine.

April 14, 1941

Guard John Hartye at Sing Sing State is fatally shot when three long-term inmates, armed with smuggled revolvers, shot Mr. Hartye during an escape from the prison hospital in the early morning.

Nov. 4, 1948

Deputy Joseph Wachowiak, a 46-year-old Erie County Jail guard dies hours after being beaten with a broken mop handle during a jail escape involving five inmates who were eventually captured.

June 15, 1970

Niagara County Sheriff Matron Phyllis M. Meyers dies in the line of duty.

Sept. 9 - 13, 1971

Seven NYS DOCS correctional officers were killed during the Attica Correctional Facility riot. They were: William E. Quinn, Edward T. Cunningham, John J. D'Arcangelo, Jr., Richard J. Lewis, Carl W. Valone, Ronald D. Werner and Harrison W. Whalen. Civilian employees killed included Elmer G. Hardie, Industrial Training Supervisor; Herbert W. Jones, Jr., Industrial Account Clerk; John G. Monteleone, Industrial Training Supervisor; Elon F. Werner, Industrial Account Clerk.

Sept. 20, 1974

Monroe County Sheriff Office Sergeant Peter J. Rotolo responded with other officers on Sept. 9, 1974, to a fight between two inmates in the Monroe County Jail kitchen. Sgt. Rotolo was thrown against the wall by an inmate, suffered a massive heart attack and slumped to the floor. Transported to Rochester General Hospital, he remained in a coma until his death on Sept. 20. Rotolo had joined the Monroe County Penitentiary Staff in 1958 and was later transferred to the Monroe County Jail when the penitentiary was closed.

April 7, 1975

New York City Correction Officer Theodore Giddens died in Bellevue Hospital 75 days after having been shot Jan. 22, 1975, in a robbery at Parsons Lounge and Legion Bar, 75-25 Parsons Blvd., Jamaica, Queens.

According to newspaper reports, police said Giddens, off-duty, walked into the bar as a robbery was in progress and was mortally wounded attempting to reach for his gun. As he lay paralyzed in the hospital a month later (Feb. 20), unable to move or speak, he helped police identify two suspects from photos by blinking his eyes in certain patterns to communicate his answers.

More than 200 uniformed and civilian Correction personnel, including Commissioner Benjamin J. Malcolm, attended the funeral in St. Charles R.C. Church, Harlem, April 11, 1975. The 54-year-old NYC native joined DOC in 1958 and served most of his 17 years with the Department at LIC's Queens Branch of the House of Detention for Men until that closed in November of 1974, at which point he was transferred to the Adolescent Detention Center on Rikers Island. DOC chaplains, Fathers Charles Rapole and Laurance Harvey, participated in the requiem mass. He left a wife, Ruby (nee Odessa) and a daughter Leslie Cecilia.

At one point in time, a plaque honoring the slain officer was displayed on a wall near the entrance of the adolescents facility, now known as the Robert N. Davoren Center, but has since been reported no longer there.

Sept. 15, 1975

New York City Correction Officer George Motchan died in Kings County Hospital 6 days after having been shot Sept. 9, 1975, by an escaping inmate Joseph James whom Motchan and another officer had escorted to the hospital's dental clinic.

James had arranged for a girlfriend to hide a gun in a bathroom stall. The killer was eventually captured, tried, convicted and sentenced to the electric chair. But two years later, by a 4-to-3 decision on James' Motchan murder sentence appeal, the state's top court voided automatic death sentences for the killing of peace officers while in performance of their duties. As a result, on Dec. 10, 1977, James was removed from death row in Green Haven Correctional Facility, Dutchess County, the last electric-chair sentenced inmate to occupy any of its 13 cells. Under a 1995 law, lethal injection is the state's designated method of execution yet to be implemented. Click for Menu of CO Motchan stories.

Dec. 13, 1976

Parole Officer Barry Sutherland, assigned to New York City in the NYS Division of Parole and Department of Correctional Services, is shot while apprehending a parolee.

Aug. 5, 1977

Food Services Cook Nancy Vial, employed less than a year at Attica Correctional Facility, is killed by an inmate in the food service area.

Aug. 20, 1978

New York City Correction Officer Ronald Fleming of the Queens House of Detention for Men was mortally wounded on August 20, 1978 when he attempted to break up a disturbance on a Hudson River Day Cruiser. The male friend of one of two arguing women drew a revolver and fired it into the air. When Officer Fleming identified himself and ordered the man to stop firing, the man instead shot Fleming and also fatally wounded a bystander. Fleming returned fire and wounded the gunman who was later captured. Fleming died in the arms of fellow Correction Officer Kenneth Black before medical assistance arrived. Perhaps the most moving tribute came from inmates in Fleming's custody at the Queens House. They contributed $49 from their commissary accounts and sent the money to Fleming's family to defray the cost of the funeral.

Dec. 18, 1978

New York City Correction Officer Rudolph Smith, 19-year veteran, was slain attempting to halt the robbery of Hyvinn Tavern in his Brooklyn neighborhood. The officer managed to mortally wound one of the armed robbers but the other one shot Smith in the head, killing him instantly. The killer was apprehended about three weeks later. Son of a policeman, Smith was a track star at Brooklyn's Boys H.S. and Morgan State College. He took and passed both the NYPD and DOC exams but decided on a correction career. He was survived by his wife, Shirley; sons, Rudy Jr.. then 21, and Robert, then 19, and a daughter, Rhonda, then 13.

May 15, 1981

Correction Officer Donna A. Payant is killed by an inmate at Green Haven Correctional Facility less than one month after becoming a correctional officer.

Feb. 6, 1982

Correction Officer Claude W. Cromie suffers a fatal heart attack upon being assaulted as he was escorting a disruptive inmate from the dayroom of a housing unit at Clinton Correctional Facility.

Oct. 10, 1985

Parole Officer Brian Rooney, conducting a drug-related investigation, was shot and killed.

June 10, 1991

New York City Correction Captain Stanley Rhem of the Bronx House of Detention for Men is killed as he returns home from work at 2 a.m. on Monday, June 10, 1991. He was shot during an exchange of gunfire when he identified himself as a peace officer and gave chase to two men attempting a robbery at West 144th Street and Eighth Avenue in Manhattan. Captain Rhem was with the Department for 19 years. He became a captain in 1985. Services for Captain Rhem were held on Saturday, June 15 at the Mother A.M.E. Zion Church in Harlem. He was survived by a wife and two teenage children.

Oct. 24, 1991

Correction Officer P. Michael Petrosino, assigned to a hospital ward at Auburn Correctional Facility to guard inmates with drug-resistant tuberculosis, also contracts the disease and dies.

Jan. 28, 1993

Cayuga County Deputy Sergeant Vincent Spinelli, while attempting to restrain an inmate, was struck in the chest and died from a massive heart attack.

June 17, 1993

New York City Correction Officer Arturo Meyers, 42, was slain Thursday evening, June 17th, intervening in a street corner dispute at Georgia and Sutter Avenues, Brooklyn. Shot four times, he was rushed to Brookdale Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 10:15 a.m. Officer Meyers was six months short of his 20-year retirement eligibility. A resident of southwest Queens, he was assigned to the Brooklyn Criminal Courts. He was survived by his wife, Arlene, and two children, daughter Katrina, then 17, and son, Arturo, then 20. A suspect was arrested.

Oct. 4, 1993

New York City Correction Officer Bruce Mayo, 27, was slain early Sunday, Oct. 4, 1993, while breaking up a fight outside a Bronx bar. He was killed by a gunman who approached him from behind and shot him once in the back of the head. A suspect was been arrested. A Correction Officer six years, he was assigned to Rose M. Singer Center on Rikers Island. C.O. Mayo was survived by his wife Cynthia, and a son, then 6 years old, Christopher.

March 5, 1995

In May of 1993, Monroe County Sheriff Office Corporal Catherine M. Crawford assisted deputies under her command to break up an inmate fight. She sustained a knee injury that required surgery but before the operation, Corporal Crawford experienced serious breathing difficulties. Medical testing determined she had developed blood clots as a result of the injury to her knee and that they had lodged in her lungs. Due to their location, their removal by surgery was ruled out. While waiting for a lung transplant, Corporal Crawford died on March 5, 1995. Cathy began her career with the Monroe County Sheriff Office October 4, 1982 as a part-time deputy and was promoted to full-time status in July of 1985. In November 1992, Cathy was promoted to the rank of Corporal.

June 18, 1995

Nassau County Sheriff's Department Corrections Officer Anthony L. Brown was shot and killed after confronting an armed man. The suspect was killed in the gunfire. Officer Brown was survived by his wife, two daughters, and two sons.

Aug. 1, 1999

Correction Officer Frank J. Mydlarz had assisted in subduing and escorting an inmate, following an inmate-assault-on-staff incident in the mess hall at Great Meadow Correctional Facility when he suffers a fatal heart attack.

To NYCHS Home Page

NOTE ON INFORMATION SOURCES & CONTRIBUTORS: In Memoriam information comes from a number of sources and contributors of individual items. Worthy of particular note are those who have contributed information for several entries. These include
Thomas McCarthy,
General Secretary
NY Correction History Society
JOHN PAUL II       1978 - 2005
On day of prison visit, his words to the world:

During another prison visit (left), he forgave his would-be assassin.

Sketch based on AP photo.