Deputy Keeper Eli B. Stetser

Deputy Keeper Eli B. Stetser

New Jersey Department of Corrections, New Jersey

End of Watch Sunday, September 21, 1913

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Eli B. Stetser

Deputy Keeper Eli Stetser was shot and killed in the New Jersey State Prison, in Trenton, during an escape attempt by two inmates.

As other inmates were being taken to the prison chapel, the two inmates remained in their cell and asked to be taken to the prison doctor. Another deputy keeper was assigned to escort them to the doctor. When he opened the cell's door he was immediately attacked. One of the inmates grabbed him from behind and the other disarmed him. The prisoner who took the gun then ran into the center of the prison, where he encountered Deputy Keeper Stetser and the doctor. He immediately opened fire, striking Deputy Keeper twice in the chest.

Despite his wounds, Deputy Keeper Stetser was able to return fire and struck the man twice in the arm. Both inmates were then taken back into custody. Deputy Keeper Stetser was taken to St. Francis Hospital where he succumbed to his wounds.

The prisoner who murdered Deputy Keeper Stetser was sentenced to death and later executed. The other prisoner was sentenced to 15 to 30 years of hard labor.

Deputy Keeper Stetser had served at the New Jersey State Prison for 27 years. He was survived by his wife and four children.


  • Age 61
  • Tour 27 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun
  • Offender Executed

Most Recent Reflection

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Reading just this glimpse into your life, knowing that you made the ultimate sacrifice for the oath that you took, I am, as others have stated, honored to not only have been a Correctional Officer and Sergeant, but to have walked and served in those same hallways that you walked and served in. I can only imagine what your co-workers & family went through, but I pray for your souls and theirs. I always viewed our work as important and a chance to make a difference and looking back, knowing that people like you went before me, I believe that enough of us did and still do and have taken that oath with sincerity. Thank you for making that ultimate sacrifice that likely saved the lives of others. May you rest in peace always.

Laura L. Nabors

September 21, 2021

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