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Deputy Sheriff Joseph Willie Pruitt | Harlan County Sheriff's Department, Kentucky Harlan County Sheriff's Department, Kentucky

Deputy Sheriff

Joseph Willie Pruitt

Harlan County Sheriff's Department, Kentucky

End of Watch: Wednesday, March 20, 1940

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 54

Tour: Not available

Badge # Not available

Cause: Assault

Weapon: Person

Offender: Acquitted

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Deputy Sheriff Joseph Pruitt was beaten to death while attempting to arrest a fugitive who had escaped from the State Prison Farm at LaGrange.

Deputy Pruitt encountered the man at a hobo camp near a set of railroad tracks he was patrolling in Harlan. The man attacked him and beat him to death. The subject was later arrested by state patrolmen in Corbin, Kentucky. It is believed that he was acquitted of the murder charges, but returned to prison on larceny charges. He escaped from prison a second time on September 26th, 1945.

Deputy Pruitt was survived by his wife.

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Deputy Sheriff Pruitt,
On today, the 77th anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for the citizens of Harlan County.


United States Border Patrol
March 20, 2017


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