Deputy Kenneth Ward Love

Deputy Kenneth Ward Love

Mason County Sheriff's Department, West Virginia

End of Watch Tuesday, March 2, 1976

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Kenneth Ward Love

Deputy Kenneth Love, Jailer Ernest Hesson, and Sheriff Elvin Wedge were killed when a bomb exploded inside the Mason County Courthouse. The suspect entered the Mason County Jail armed with a shotgun and suitcase, and forced his way into the jail cell of his wife, who was in custody for the murder of their child. The suspect stated he wished to spend the night with his wife, and while talking to Sheriff Wedge fired at the suitcase, which contained approximately 30 sticks of dynamite, causing a massive explosion.

Deputy Love, who was on duty at the courthouse that night, was killed instantly. Sheriff Wedge succumbed to the injuries he sustained in the blast the next day. Jailer Ernest Hesson succumbed to his injuries one week later. The suspect and his wife were also killed instantly.

Deputy Love was survived by his wife, two children, father and two siblings.


  • Age 35
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Bomb
  • Weapon Explosives; Dynamite
  • Offender Killed in explosion

Most Recent Reflection

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A group of Marshall University alumnii were discussing the 1970 plane crash and one of the members said that started a bad dcade for WVa. Kennedy was assassinated, and we all feel that he would have done a lot of good for WVa. The Silver Bridge collapsed and then the bombing at the jail.
All-in-all, a170-1980 was not a good decade for us.

Richard H Garretson, Deputy Coroner
Jefferson County Coroner's Office, Mt. Vernon, IL 62864

November 16, 2013

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