Family, Friends & Fellow Officers Remember...

Jailer Edward Innes

Mesa County Sheriff's Office, Colorado

End of Watch Thursday, September 27, 1906

Leave a Reflection

Reflections for Jailer Edward Innes

Thank you for the news article in the previous reflection.

Jailer Innes, no passage of time can ever erase your service and sacrifice. Rest in peace always.

Detective Cpl/3 Steven Rizzo
Delaware State Police (Retired)

September 27, 2020

Deputy’s murder sparked outrage, quick justice 114 years ago

Posted on September 21, 2020
The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel News

Edward Innes was a well-liked young man and the beloved son of Mesa County’s first elected sheriff. He’d been a respected Grand Junction fire chief. By 1906, he was a deputy in the county jail, noted for treating inmates kindly.

So, when he was murdered by one of those inmates on Sept. 26, 1906, the community was outraged and justice was swift.

The killer, John “George” McGarvey, was captured on Sept. 30, after a furious manhunt.

McGarvey’s trial began on Oct. 3 and concluded the next day with a guilty verdict.

He was sentenced to death on Oct. 5.

He was hanged on Jan. 12, 1907.

Edward Innes was born in 1878 on the Front Range. But he was raised here and graduated from Grand Junction High School.

His father, William Innes, operated a sawmill near Whitewater when he moved his family here in 1882.

William Innes served two non-consecutive terms as sheriff, the first beginning in 1883, shortly after Mesa County was created. He was elected again in 1892 and served through 1896.

His son became Grand Junction’s fire chief, probably in 1901.

When he was reappointed by the Grand Junction City Council in 1903, The Daily Sentinel reported, “His record has been so good that there was no contesting nominee and his election for this important position was made by acclimation.”

He ran a professional department and helped to modernize its equipment. He was also in charge of Curley, “the little dog at the fire station” who “is always to be found at the heels of Chief Innes when there is a fire,” the Sentinel said.

Despite this record, and even though volunteer firefighters petitioned to have him retained, the City Council declined to reappoint Innes as fire chief in 1905.

So, Innes went to work for then-Sheriff William Struthers, as a deputy in the county jail.

Innes was single and lived with his parents at their home at 755 Ouray Ave.

But he was no shrinking violet, according to the Sentinel: “No young man in Grand Junction was held in higher regard or had more friends than Edward Innes.”

The Mesa County Fair was underway the last week of September, so Sheriff Struthers and most of his deputies were not near the jail on the evening Innes was attacked.

Innes was the only officer there about 5 p.m., watching as several inmates played cards in a cell. McGarvey was in the corridor with Innes, as was a 16-year-old youngster named Charles Van Horn, who had allegedly stolen a bicycle.

McGarvey had been in jail since April, accused of raping a 12-year-old girl.

But he appeared sickly, and Innes “was inclined to allow the man some privileges as a trusty,” the Sentinel reported the day after the attack.

“For this privilege and kindness the brute has shown his gratitude by attempting to kill the man who befriended him,” the paper added. Innes died of head injuries late on Sept. 27.

On the 26th, McGarvey had grabbed a heavy piece of kindling wood, snuck up behind Innes and smashed him in the head, proclaiming “I got you this time, Eddie!”

Van Horn, cowering in a corner, was the only eyewitness.

The card-playing inmates only saw McGarvey after he grabbed Innes’ revolver and threatened to kill any prisoner who made noise.

When McGarvey disappeared into the falling dusk, the inmates yelled to pedestrians outside. One pedestrian found Sheriff Struthers, and he soon arrived with deputies and doctors.

There were reports of a furtive-looking man heading south toward the Colorado River, and a tracking dog followed a scent to the sugar beet plant near the river.

Telephone calls were made throughout the county, telling people to be on the lookout for a late-20s, clean-shaven man with black hair, about 5-feet, 4-inches tall, weighing around 130 pounds.

However, searchers had no success the first few days, and a reward for McGarvey grew from $50 to $500.

Then, late on Sept. 29, a man thought to be McGarvey was spotted near a swamp along the Colorado River, six miles east of Grand Junction.

Carrying torches and weapons, 150 men surrounded the swamp and waited until dawn. But they found no fugitive.

McGarvey had not gone that way. Instead, he headed northeast to Palisade. There, he jumped a train and rode just a few miles before a conductor threw him off near Cameo. From there, he struck out on foot.

Early on Sept. 30, he appeared at William McDowell’s ranch, two miles west of De Beque, looking ragged and begging for food.

McDowell suspected this was the wanted man, and he offered him temporary work cutting firewood.

Once McGarvey was busy, McDowell aimed a shotgun at him and demanded his surrender.

He also retrieved the pistol McGarvey had taken from Innes. He took McGarvey into De Beque, where he was held until Sheriff Struthers arrived.

Struthers and his undersheriff took the prisoner east by train.

Although there was no hint of possible mob violence, “the officers, wanting to be on the safe side, thought it best to take McGarvey to Glenwood Springs until the day of the trial,” the Sentinel reported.

That occurred Oct. 3 and continued the next day. Van Horn testified, as did several other inmates, Struthers, the undersheriff and the county coroner.

McGarvey’s court-appointed attorney didn’t dispute the testimony. He argued that the killing was not premeditated and that McGarvey only wanted to incapacitate Innes.

It didn’t work. At 4 p.m. Oct. 4, the jury returned a guilty verdict on first-degree murder.

Judge Theron Stevens announced the sentence Oct. 5, ordering McGarvey to be hanged at the penitentiary in Cañon City the following January.

The judge also told McGarvey, “You should be wiped from the face of the earth … Had you one hundred lives, the taking of them all could not atone for the foul crime.”

After his trial, McGarvey worked unsuccessfully to get a new trial or to have his sentence commuted. He also pleaded for help from his father in New Jersey, Bernard McGarvey, a well-to-do property owner.

The elder McGarvey was appalled by the rape charge and then the murder of Innes, and wanted nothing to do with his son.

After Bernard’s mother — John McGarvey’s grandmother — implored him to act, Bernard McGarvey finally did so. He sent letters to Colorado Gov. Henry Buchtel, pleading for mercy for his son.

He was too late. The letters arrived just days after the sentence was carried out on John McGarvey.

Few people in Mesa County shed any tears for McGarvey. In fact, the Sentinel reported on Jan. 24, 1907, that there was a new display in the Grand Junction Fire Department: In a glass case on the firehouse wall was the noose that hanged McGarvey.

Edward Innes, the first Mesa County law enforcement officer to die in the line of duty, was inducted into the Colorado Law Enforcement Officers’ Memorial in 2000.

In 2007, his name was added to the National Law Enforcement Officers’ Memorial in Washington, D.C.

No other employee of the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office died in the line of duty for more than 100 years, until Deputy Derek Geer was shot and killed on Feb. 8, 2016.

Sources: The Daily Sentinel online at Mesa County Sheriff’s Office Wall of Honor.

Retired Police Officer

September 21, 2020

"Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God."
Matthew 5:9

Marshal Chris Di Gerolamo
Federal Air Marshal Service

February 12, 2016

To fully appreciate the heroes of the present, we must recognize our heroes of the past. I am privileged to pay tribute to you. Your heroism and service is honored today, the 107th anniversary year 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 who was murdered in the line of duty on April 24, 2005 while serving as a Pittsburg, CA police officer.

Time never diminishes respect. Your memory will always be honored and revered.

Rest In Peace.

Phyllis Lasater Loya
mom of fallen Pittsburg (CA) officer Larry Lasater

August 7, 2013

You will always be remembered.

We are always out numbered but never out manned.

Deputy Gary Pauls
Mesa County S O

May 16, 2013

Rest in Peace, Jailer Innes. Your sacrifice is not forgotten.

Officer 11169

January 28, 2012

Jailer Innes - Two Fridays ago I stood in the State Assembly chambers when your name was one of the almost 250 read off during a vote regarding next month's Police Memorial Week. You are not forgotten. Thank you for your service to the people of Mesa County and the state of Colorado. May God grant you eternal rest and may his perpetual light shine upon you.

Chief K. Moreland (Ret. Sgt.)
Palmer Lake, CO PD (Ret. LAPD)

May 4, 2010

Deputy Innes,

This year you were honored at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington DC as well as at the Mesa County Sheriff's Office. Everything was first class as usual. While none of us worked with you, no one has ever forgotton you at the Department. Thank you for your service to Mesa County.

Deputy Sheriff
Mesa County Sheriff's Office

June 4, 2007

God bless you and your family. You will never be forgotten.


March 12, 2004

I'm sorry your time was cut short by such a cowardly act. You are not forgotten - rest in peace.

Terry Cook
Missoula, MT

December 31, 2003

Want even more control of your Reflection? Create a free ODMP account now for these benefits:

  • Quick access to your heroes
  • Reflections published quicker
  • Save a Reflection signature
  • View, edit or delete any Reflection you've left in the past

Create an account for more options, or use this form to leave a Reflection now.