Bio & Incident Details
Tour: 27 years
Badge # Not available
Incident Date: 9/21/1913
Deputy Keeper Eli Stetser was shot and killed in the New Jersey State Prison, in Trenton, during an escape attempt by two inmates.
As other inmates were being taken to the prison chapel, the two inmates remained in their cell and asked to be taken to the prison doctor. Another deputy keeper was assigned to escort them to the doctor. When he opened the cell's door he was immediately attacked. One of the inmates grabbed him from behind and the other disarmed him. The prisoner who took the gun then ran into the center of the prison, where he encountered Deputy Keeper Stetser and the doctor. He immediately opened fire, striking Deputy Keeper twice in the chest.
Despite his wounds, Deputy Keeper Stetser was able to return fire and struck the man twice in the arm. Both inmates were then taken back into custody. Deputy Keeper Stetser was taken to St. Francis Hospital where he succumbed to his wounds.
The prisoner who murdered Deputy Keeper Stetser was sentenced to death and later executed. The other prisoner was sentenced to 15 to 30 years of hard labor.
Deputy Keeper Stetser had served at the New Jersey State Prison for 27 years. He was survived by his wife and four children.