Correctional Officer Richard Bert Fordham, Sr.

Correctional Officer Richard Bert Fordham, Sr.

Lee County Sheriff's Office, Illinois

End of Watch Monday, May 9, 1977

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Richard Bert Fordham, Sr.

Correctional Officer Richard Fordham was beaten and strangled to death after being overpowered by two inmates at the old Lee County Law Enforcement Center at 122 W. Third Street 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 was a U.S. Navy veteran and had served with the Lee County Sheriff's Office for only eight months. He is survived by his wife and five children.


  • Age 39
  • Tour 8 months
  • Badge Not available
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Assault
  • Weapon Person
  • Offender Sentenced

prisoner custody

Most Recent Reflection

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43 years ago one week from my 15th birthday two men attempted to break out of the county jail. In the process they jumped the jailer and brutally killed him. This failed attempt forever changed his family and has left scars that still remain today.
I remember the community response in turning out in the memory of this man. The small town where these types of crimes were unheard of but yet it happened. Occasionally from time to time someone from this mans life who have long lost contact will reach out to him to find that he has long left this world. Thanks to those that remember a better time and remembering him and sharing.
Though he was not always the perfect man he strived to make a better world for his family and to the community and country he served for almost 25 years of a man who was killed at 39.
He held different titles in his short life but the one i will always call him is Dad.

Richard B. Fordham Jr.

February 28, 2020

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