Warden Theodore Catlin

Warden Theodore Catlin

Michigan Department of Corrections, Michigan

End of Watch Thursday, January 26, 1922

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Theodore Catlin

Warden Theodore Catlin and Deputy Warden Fred Menhennett, of the Marquette Branch Prison, were both stabbed by Arthur ( Gypsy Bob) Harper on December 11, 1921. The attack occurred during an afternoon movie showing at the prison. Harper, assisted by two other inmates, hiding in the theater ran up to Warden Catlin and stabbed him repeatedly. Warden Menhennett tried to intercede and was mortally wounded in the process. Harper and two accomplices chased Catlin down and continued their attack before finally being subdued.

Menhennett died the next day, while Catlin lived for six more weeks.

Harper was reportedly angry at the new warden for taking away some of his freedoms as awarded by the previous warden.

Harper, age 42, a notorious gangster whose criminal record went back 30 years, was then and now known as Michigan's most dangerous inmate. He was transferred from Jackson Prison to Marquette in 1919 after he murdered a fellow inmate. He was never tried for the warden's murders but was flogged each day for several weeks. Flogging was a form of punishment allowed in the 1920s. He spent 17 years in solitary confinement and died of heart attack in prison in 1953.

Harper's two accomplices were also never tried. Both were punished with solitary confinement. One was released from solitary after 12 years and released from prison in 1936 after he had served his term for burglary. The other, in solitary, went insane in 1933 and was transferred to Ionia hospital for the criminally insane where he died in 1968.

This was the first time in the history of the department that employees of a Michigan prison were killed by inmates.


  • Age Not available
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Stabbed
  • Incident Date Sunday, December 11, 1921
  • Weapon Edged weapon
  • Offender Died in prison

ambush, prisoner custody

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Warden Catlin,
On today, the 100th anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for the citizens of the state of Michigan. There is no tougher job in Law Enforcement then that of a Corrections Officer.


United States Border Patrol

January 26, 2022

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