Incident DetailsCause of Death:
Custody Officer George Chamberlain was shot and killed by inmates during an escape attempt from the Indiana Prison South in Clarksville.
Four male inmates using knives and revolvers made their way to the gate at the main entrance saying they had been sent for to see the clerk. As Custody Officer Chamberlain opened the gate, the inmates pushed him down and rushed out.
After Custody Officer Chamberlain recovered and gave chase, one of the inmates turned and shot him through the head. He died from his wound about 20 minutes later.
During the escape attempt, one inmate was shot and killed by the warden. The three other inmates were captured and charged with first-degree murder, of which one inmate turned state's evidence.
A third inmate, who was serving an eight-year term for assault and battery with intent to commit murder, was found guilty and sentenced to death. Upon appeal and retrial, he was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.
In his third trial, he was convicted of first-degree murder, sentenced to life in prison and later granted parole by Governor Claude Matthews. In 1904, he was granted a pardon by Governor Winfield T. Durbin.
The fourth, a 32-year-old inmate serving time for grand larceny, was found guilty and sentenced to death. In his second trial, he pleaded guilty to manslaughter and sentenced to 10 years at hard labor. On his deathbed in 1879, he confessed to being the shooter.
Custody Officer Chamberlain, from Jeffersonville, was single and survived by his parents.
United States Army
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.