Correctional Officer Richard Bert Fordham, Sr.

Correctional Officer Richard Bert Fordham, Sr.

Lee County Sheriff's Department, Illinois

End of Watch Monday, May 9, 1977

Richard Bert Fordham, Sr.

Correctional Officer Richard Fordham was beaten and strangled to death after being overpowered by two inmates at the Lee County Jail in Dixon.

Both inmates were convicted of his murder and sentenced to 40 to 100 years in prison. One died in prison in December of 2011. The other inmate, who has been denied parole several times, was granted parole in 2012.

Correctional Officer Fordham had served with the Lee County Sheriff's Department for only six months. A year earlier he had retired from the U.S. Navy after 25 years as Chief Quartermaster. He is survived by his wife and five children.


  • Age 39
  • Tour 6 months
  • Badge Not available
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Assault
  • Weapon Person
  • Offender Sentenced

Most Recent Reflection

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Bert was my father’s ( Jim Graham) best buddy growing up. They went into the navy together. I remember the day Bert was murdered, someone called the house and told my mom what had happened. She said it was harder to tell my dad that than about his mother passing. I was in 7th grade and it was the first police funeral I ever attended but unfortunately not the last. Squad cars lined Galena Ave. from the arch to the north side of Dixon. RIP Bert I know you and my dad are hanging out swapping stories.

S/MST Craig Graham Ret.
Illinois State Poice

May 11, 2018

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