Incident DetailsCause of Death:
Custody Officer John Grimm was beaten to death by inmates during an attempted escape from the Indiana Reformatory in Clarksville.
Upon entering the prison bakery, Custody Officer Grimm was beaten with a hammer by six inmates who had plotted to escape from the prison that evening. The inmates then took Custody Officer Grimm's revolver and shot him once through his mouth. As the inmates made their way out of the prison, they seized the weapon of another guard after he was bound and gagged. It was later determined that Custody Officer Grimm died from 11 distinct fractures to his skull and not from the gunshot wound.
All six of the inmates were captured on the grounds of the prison. A 27-year-old inmate, who was shot, later died from his wounds. A 20-year-old inmate, who was shot and wounded, was sentenced to life in prison and died while incarcerated in 1933.
Another 20-year-old inmate was sentenced to life in prison and later discharged. The remaining three inmates were charged as accessories.
Custody Officer Grimm was survived by his wife, two sons, two daughters, two brothers, sister and mother.
The Indiana State Prison South/Indiana Reformatory/Colgate-Palmolive Historic District consists of 18 contributing buildings dating to 1847 and is roughly bounded by Clark Boulevard, Montgomery Avenue, Missouri Avenue and the CSX railroad tracks. The district was added to the National Register of Historic Places on March 13, 2019 and listed on the Indiana Register of Historic Sites and Structures on January 16, 2019.
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