Warden William Willard

Warden William Willard

Connecticut Department of Correction, Connecticut

End of Watch Sunday, August 14, 1870

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William Willard

Warden William Willard stabbed to death by an inmate at the Wethersfield State Prison.

It was the custom of Warden Willard to walk through the prison every other Sunday and listen to the complaints of the inmates. During his walk-through Warden Willard was called over to the cell of one inmate to read a note. The note said, "To Mr. Capt. Willard, please read the other side." When Warden Willard turned the note over, the inmate pushed a cane with a knife stuck to the end through the bars and stabbed Warden Willard in the stomach. While struggling to get the knife away from the inmate, Warden Willard was more seriously injured. He died three hours later from the wounds.

The inmate, who was serving 16 years for burglary, killed Warden Willard so that he could be transferred to the city jail, which was easier to escape from, while on trial for the murder. The inmate had been unable to escape from the state prison and felt he would have a better chance of escape at the city jail.

The suspect was convicted of murder and executed on October 13th, 1871, at the Hartford County Jail.

The Willard Building of the Willard-Cybulski Correctional Facility in Enfield, Connecticut, is named for Warden Willard.


  • Age 51
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Stabbed
  • Weapon Edged weapon; Knife
  • Offender Executed on October 13, 1871


Most Recent Reflection

View all 9 Reflections

Warden Willard, to be interested and to take the time to listen to the complaints and concerns of the inmates, especially in 1870 is an amazing thing to read. It showed you to be a real humanitarian in a time when it was not especially heard of. To think you were murdered while doing this is disgusting and showed how vile your murderer was, particularly for the reason he did it.

Well, he escaped prison, and I'm glad he got out the way he did.

God Bless you, Sir and may your eternal rest be ever peaceful.

Ptl. Jim Leahy, Jr.
Harvard University Police Dept.

August 14, 2016

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