Assistant Warden Virdeen Willis, Jr.

Assistant Warden Virdeen Willis, Jr.

Illinois Department of Corrections, Illinois

End of Watch Sunday, June 30, 1985

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Virdeen Willis, Jr.

Assistant Warden Virdeen Willis was shot and killed while off duty by a suspect who had been incarcerated at the Pontiac Correctional Center, where he was the assistant warden.

The suspect saw Assistant Warden Willis leaving a bar in Chicago, walked up to him, and shot him.

The suspect was twice found guilty of murder and sentenced to death. On February 19, 1999, the Illinois Supreme Court reversed his conviction outright on the grounds of insufficient evidence, exonerating the suspect who was released from prison. The governor granted an absolute pardon on August 1, 2002.

Assistant Warden Willis had served with the Illinois Department of Corrections for 19 years. He was survived by his mother.


  • Age 45
  • Tour 19 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Gun; Unknown type
  • Offender Exonerated in 1999

convicted felon, gang member, off duty, retaliation

Most Recent Reflection

View all 16 Reflections

I would like to thank you.
Mr. Steve Seliga for that beautiful
Speech about my
Father Verdeen Willis.
I was just listening to some old songs that my mother and father use to dance to.
And I decided to pull my dad up.
To show my husband.
And lord behold.
There he is.
My wonderful and handsome father.
I miss him so very much.
Thank you for your spirit.
This was a blessing.
Happy Retirement.

Cynthia Nolley

May 25, 2024

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