Guard Merritt W. Hayden

Guard Merritt W. Hayden

Hampden County Sheriff's Office, Massachusetts

End of Watch Wednesday, October 25, 1933

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Merritt W. Hayden

Guard Merritt Hayden succumbed to injuries sustained three days earlier when he was attacked by two inmates during an escape from the old Hampden County Jail, at the base of York Street along the Connecticut River.

The two inmates hid in a room next to the recreation yard and then one struck him on the head with a club after he climbed down from the guard tower. The two inmates, 21 and 24, escaped. One was captured two hours later and the other was apprehended in Roanoke, Virginia, five weeks later. Both were serving a short term in jail for carrying concealed weapons. One was convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to life. The oldest, and Guard Hayden's killer, was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to death. During his trial his brother, 26, ran into the court room and threw two bombs at the Hamden County Sheriff. When they failed to go off he produced a revolver and shot him in the leg. Another officer subdued the suspect and handcuffed him. He was convicted of several charges including attempted murder and sentenced to 25 years. On May 29, 1934, his brother was waiting to be transferred to death row when he escaped. He was captured in Albany, New York, on November 10, 1934. On February 19, 1935, he was executed in the electric chair. His companion was pardoned by Governor Paul A. Dever on November 25, 1952.


  • Age 50
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Assault
  • Incident Date Sunday, October 22, 1933
  • Weapon Blunt object
  • Offender Executed 1935

escape attempt

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“Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God."
Matthew 5:9

Marshal Chris Di Gerolamo
Federal Air Marshal Service

January 17, 2020

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