James Cletus 'Jay' Goodwin
Spencer County Sheriff's Department
Sunday, October 28, 1973

Age: 52
Served: 4 years, 6 months
Badge #:
Panel 43W, Line 25
Panel L4, Line 11 (2007)

Incident Details

Cause of Death:
Heart attack
Date/Time of Incident:
Sunday, October 28, 1973
09:00 pm
Incident to Death Duration:
Same day
Incident Location:
120 North 2nd Street, Rockport
Incident County:
Incident Township:
Weapon Used:
Suspect Disposition:
No charges filed
Burial Place:
James Parker Cemetery, Hatfield

Share this Memorial

   Sheriff James Goodwin suffered a fatal heart attack while attempting to apprehend two inmates, being held on auto theft charges from Florida, as they were escaping from the Spencer County Jail.

   As he heard the commotion, Sheriff Goodwin ran down the stairs when he saw the inmates as they were escaping and collapsed. He was taken to Owensboro Daviess County Hospital in Kentucky where he died.

   The Rockport police chief captured the 20-year-old male along the west bank of the Ohio River. A short time later, deputies captured the 17-year-old male who was hiding in a shed on the north side of town.

   Sheriff Goodwin, a Democrat from Rockport, had been appointed sheriff to serve the remaining 21 months of the term of Sheriff Robert Scales who resigned while in office in March 1969 before being elected to serve a four-year term himself.

   He was survived by his wife, son, four daughters, four grandchildren, three brothers and three sisters.

Military Service

United States Army
World War II
Sergeant (SGT)

Bronze Star Medal

Historical Note

• Sheriff Goodwin held the longest term in office, at four years and 211 days, of the 21 sheriffs with line of duty deaths in Indiana.

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Sheriff James Cletus 'Jay' Goodwin - Spencer County Sheriff's Department -