Corporal Joe Byrd

Corporal Joe Byrd

South Carolina Department of Corrections, South Carolina

End of Watch Thursday, March 12, 1936

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Joe Byrd

Corporal Joe Byrd was attacked and killed by a 17-year-old ex-convict at about 5:35 am.

Corporal Byrd disappeared after leaving his home on Broad River Road to report for duty at the state penitentiary in Columbia. The next day a local farmer came upon Corporal Byrd's burned automobile in a wooded area along Gills Creek one mile east of Bluff Road.

The Richland County Coroner reported that Corporal Byrd had been dealt a crushing blow to his skull before his body was placed on the back seat and the car ignited.

The next day the suspect, who had only been out of prison for two days, was arrested in Charleston. He had stolen an axe from Corporal Byrd's home and then laid in wait on the back floorboard of his car. He admitted that he struck Corporal Byrd several times with the axe and then set his car on fire and pushed him into it.

The subject was convicted of first-degree murder, sentenced to death, and executed in the electric chair June 26th, 1936.

Corporal Byrd had served with the South Carolina Department of Corrections for five years and had previously served with the Lancaster Police Department. He was survived by his wife, son, mother, and five sisters.


  • Age 42
  • Tour 5 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Assault
  • Weapon Edged weapon; Axe
  • Offender Executed in 1936

ambush, juvenile offender, retaliation

Most Recent Reflection

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Officer Byrd was my great-great uncle (he was an uncle to my grandfather on my fathers side.) We still have your sidearm in the family sir, a pearl handled .32 revolver. We will never forget.


June 27, 2019

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