Turnkey Joe R. Tuggle

Turnkey Joe R. Tuggle

Whitley County Detention Center, Kentucky

End of Watch Tuesday, October 29, 1940

Add to My Heroes

Joe R. Tuggle

Turnkey Joe Tuggle was shot and killed by a prisoner in the Whitley County Jail as he brought the man out of his cell to talk to a visitor.

The prisoner suddenly grabbed Turnkey Tuggle's pistol from its holster and shot him twice, killing him. The suspect escaped from the jail but was arrested seven hours later after a bloodhound tracked him to a mountain 15 miles from the jail.

The 21-year-old prisoner, who was awaiting transfer to the state penitentiary to begin serving a 21 year sentence for robbing a gas station, was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to death. In 1945 Governor Simeon S. Willis commuted his sentence to life. He was paroled July 15, 1954.

Turnkey Tuggle was survived by his wife and son.


  • Age 57
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Officer's handgun
  • Offender Paroled in 1954

Most Recent Reflection

View all 9 Reflections

Mr. Tuggle,
On today the 80th anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for the citizens of Whitley County. And to your Family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.


United States Border Patrol

October 29, 2020

Want even more control of your Reflection? Create a free ODMP account now for these benefits:

  • Quick access to your heroes
  • Reflections published quicker
  • Save a Reflection signature
  • View, edit or delete any Reflection you've left in the past

Create an account for more options, or use this form to leave a Reflection now.