Guard Joe Epperson

Guard Joe Epperson

Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Texas

End of Watch Monday, April 29, 1889

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Joe Epperson

Joe Epperson, prison guard at the convict coal camp in Alto in Cherokee County, was seized by three convicts, disarmed and killed by a convict named James Roach. Roach had snatched the pistol away from another guard. After the killing Roach and another convict named Spears, both from Parker County, and a convict named Ellis Bybee, from San Saba County, made their escape with horses and weapons. A posse quickly apprehended Spears and Bybee in Leon County. The Texas Prison Museum reported that Roach and Bybee were convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to death. Roach and Bybee were pardoned on December 25, 1902 by outgoing Governor Joseph Sayles. The disposition of Spears case is unknown at this time.

Virtually nothing is known about Epperson. One newspaper article reported he was from Henderson County. His place of burial is unknown.


  • Age Not available
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Officer's handgun
  • Offender pardoned

Most Recent Reflection

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Guard Epperson,
On today, the 130th anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for the citizens of the state of Texas. There is no tougher job in Law Enforcement than that of a Corrections Officer.

BPA Mike Casey
United States Border Patrol
El Paso Station

April 29, 2019

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