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

Most Recent Reflection

View all 4 Reflections

Your heroism and service is honored today, the 90th anniversary of your death. Your memory lives and you continue to inspire. Thank you for your service. My cherished son Larry Lasater was a fellow police officer murdered in the line of duty on April 24, 2005 while serving as a Pittsburg, CA police officer.

Time never dimishes respect, and your memory will always be honored and revered.

Five decades after your death I was a correctional officer at San Quentin on a gun rail in the cafeteria when a movie was being shown at night. A stabbing of an inmate occurred and I always thought the situation may have been exacerated by the movie being shown. It was picked by the inmates advisory council and it was Chainsaw Massacre. Those kinds of movies should never have been shown. I am sure there was not that many officers on duty when the movie was being shown and you were greatly outnumbered and it may have been dark as well.

Rest In Peace

Phyllis Loya
Mom of fallen California Officer Larry Lasater, Pittsburg PD, eow 4/24/05

January 26, 2012

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