Deputy Warden Peter N. Klein

Deputy Warden Peter N. Klein

Illinois Department of Corrections, Illinois

End of Watch Wednesday, May 5, 1926

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Peter N. Klein

Deputy Warden Peter Klein was stabbed and beaten to death in his office at the Joliet State Prison.

Seven inmates had asked to see the warden, and when he entered his office, they attacked him. He was stabbed with a knife and scissors and hit over the head with an iron bar. The suspects then took a guard and trusty hostage and escaped from the prison. The two hostages were later tied to a tree as the inmates continued their escape.

Five of the seven escapees were captured within five days. A police officer and posse member were shot and wounded during the arrest near Leonore, Illinois. The remaining two suspects were eventually apprehended, and on November 26, 1926, six of the seven suspects were convicted of murder and sentenced to death.

On March 12th, 1927, the six convicted suspects staged a daring escape at the Will County Jail in Joliet. Three of the suspects were subdued by guards. The other three, with the help of a guard, escaped. They forced a cab driver to drive them to south Chicago where they were stopped by three Chicago police officers. In an exchange of gunfire with the suspects, Patrolman Leo Grant of the Chicago Police Department was shot and killed, while another officer and the cab driver were seriously wounded.

One of the suspects was mortally wounded, one was captured, and the other suspect escaped. The captured suspect had also been convicted of killing Active Lieutenant Terrence Lyons, was returned to prison, and was executed by hanging on July 15th, 1927, at the Will County Jail. Two of the three suspects who the guards stopped were executed by hanging the same day.

On October 10th, 1928, at the Will County Jail, the third suspect was the last person to be executed by hanging in the state before the method was replaced by electrocution. He was also serving a life sentence for the murder of Park Policeman Harry J. Busse of the South Park District Police Department, Illinois, on January 26, 1922.

Warden Klein was survived by his wife and mother.


  • Age 41
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Stabbed
  • Weapon Edged weapon; Knife
  • Offender Sentenced to death

Most Recent Reflection

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Deputy Warden Klein's story was read in Richton Park Police Department's roll call on 8-16-18 to remember and honor him.

Sgt. James Galvan
Richton Park Police (IL)

August 17, 2018

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