Famous prison warden spends an hour on death row with Ken and Kevin

“I think if I had my choice, growing up, I’d have been a farmer,” said Jim Willett, the former warden of the Texas State Prison in Huntsville.  

The notorious “Old Sparky” was used to execute more prisoners than any other device in American prison History. 

Jim was as friendly as anyone we’ve met in our journeys, yet didn’t flinch when asked how many executions he’d carried out as warden. “I had to miss about a half dozen for one reason or another. I was there for 89.” 

Jim demonstrates the device used to open a cell door on death row.

Jim recounted the most notorious escape attempt in American prison history while he was a guard in 1974. Prisoners smuggled in two guns in a rotten ham, captured eight prisoners and created a Trojan horse-type device, lined with human bodies as shields, to escape.   

 This display shows how prisoners built a Trojan horse-style device, in which they placed themselves and two prisoners, while handcuffing the remaining hostages to the outside.

 Kevin, Jim and Ken.  

Family members leave memory thoughts which are displayed in Huntsville.

There were a lot of famous prisoners behind bars in the Texas State Prison.   

 A stamp in Denmark memorializes one of the Texas State Prison’s most famous inmates, who was executed in 1998.    

Author: Kevster

Kevin Slimp

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