Deputy Keeper George W. Haight

Deputy Keeper George W. Haight

Michigan Department of Corrections, Michigan

End of Watch Monday, March 27, 1893

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George W. Haight

Deputy Keeper George Haight was killed after an inmate poisoned his food with a mixture of opium and prussic acid (cyanide) at the Michigan State Prison, in Jackson, during an elaborate escape attempt.

The inmate had tricked the night captain into believing he had buried treasure in Rhode Island and that he would share it with him. The promise of the treasure prompted the captain to give the inmate additional liberties and freedom to move around the prison at night.

Despite serving a life sentence for poisoning his mother and being suspected of poisoning his father, the night captain allowed the inmate to order prussic acid from an outside pharmacy. On the night of the inmate's escape, the inmate was assisted in preparing meals for the guards and poisoned them with the mixture. As the guards ate and drank their meals, they immediately became extremely ill and unable to move.

When Deputy Keeper Haight collapsed from his chair, he knocked down several plates, causing a loud noise that drew the attention of another guard who hadn't been poisoned. When the other guard came to investigate, he discovered the inmate tending to Deputy Keeper Haight. The inmate told the guard that the keeper was dying and was subsequently sent to get help. The inmate instead took the prison keys and two revolvers and walked out of prison.

He was arrested several days later and charged with murdering Deputy Keeper Haight. The night captain was also arrested and charged with being criminally negligent.

Deputy Keeper Haight was a Civil War veteran who served at the Michigan State Penitentiary for eight years. He was survived by his wife and five children.


  • Age 66
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge Not available
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Poisoned
  • Weapon Poison
  • Offender Convicted of murder

prisoner custody

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Deputy Keeper Haight,
On today, the 130th anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice-not just as a Law Enforcement Officer but for our Country as well when you served during the Civil War. And to your Family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.


United States Border Patrol

March 27, 2023

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