By State

“Fallen But Not Forgotten”


Joe Byrd

Rank: Prison Guard
Department: South Carolina Department of Corrections
Institution: South Carolina State Penitentiary , SC
EOW: 03/12/1936

Guard Joe Byrd was kidnapped and killed by a 17 year-old ex-convict. Guard Byrd disappeared after leaving his home on Broad River Road in his car to report for duty at the state penitentiary in Columbia. The next day a local farmer came upon Guard Byrd's burned automobile in a woods five miles from where Guard Byrd lived. Guard Byrd's burned body was found in the back seat. The Richland County Coroner reported that Guard Byrd had been dealt a crushing blow to his skull apparently before his body was tossed on the back seat and the car ignited. The next day the suspect, who had only been out of prison for two days, was arrested in Charleston. He had stole an axe from Guard Byrd's home and then laid in wait for the guard on the back floor board of his car. He admitted that he struck Guard Byrd several times with the axe and then set his car on fire and pushed him into it. The suspect was convicted of first degree murder and executed in the electric chair June 26, 1936.

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