Memorandums on the Stabbing of Rufus McCain





December 4, 1940

To: Director, Bureau of Prisons

Re: MC CAIN, RUFUS R #267-AZ Stabbed by
YOUNG, Henry #244-AZ

Tuesday, December 3, 1940, Rufus Roy McCain#267-Az was stabbed by Henry Young #244-Az.

The stabbing took place in the Clothing Factory, sometimes referred to as Tailor Shop, about 10 A.M. McCain was taken to the Hospital immediately after the occurence and was attended to by Chief Medical Officer Romney M. Ritchey and his Assistant, Dr. S.H. Green, and later had the assistance of Dr. G.H. Hunt who came over from the Marine Hospital, San Francisco, at the request of Dr. Ritchey.

McCain was at his place of work assignment in the Tailor Shop. Young was assigned to work in the Furniture of Model Shop, one floor above the Tailor Shop in the same building.

Junior Officer Spencer, who was on duty in charge of the Model Shop, reports that he made his ten o'clock count and Young and all other prisoners were present. After making his count and finding everything in order, he proceeded to the stock room where he was taking monthly inventory and that he was there but a few moments when he heard a whistle and looking around for the trouble found it was in the Tailor Shop.

Apparently Young waited until after the ten o'clock count and Officer Spencer's attention was directed elsewhere and then he ran down the stairs into the Tailor Shop, ran for McCain and lunged at him with the knife. The knife that was used was about five inches long and the handle was wrapped with tape. It appears to be a planer blade such as is used in the planing machines in furniture work, but sharpened to a point.

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Senior Officer Frank W. Mach was on duty in the Tailor Shop and at the time he was instructing a new officer, Wesley C. Hicks, who had just reportedfor duty as a probationer.; Mr. Paul M. Pone, Foreman of the Tailor Shop, was at a table, sewing. He did not see Young enter the shop but he heard a scuffle and saw Officer Mach holding Young.

Officer Mach states that he was standing by the cutting table giving instructions to Officer Hicks when he heard a commotion in back of him and turning around saw Young standing near the wash sink with a knife in his hand. He grabbed Young by the wrist and pinned his arm to his side and while he was holding him had Mr. Pone and Mr. Hicks take the knife away from him. After turning Young over to Officers Rose and Spencer at the stairs landing, he returned to the Shop and summoned assistance to take McCain to the Hospital.

As soon as I got the information on the above, I telephoned to your office and made report of the occurrence to Mr. Hammack. At that time I could not tell the extent of the injury or the probably outcome. Later in the day, when the Doctor reported to me that McCain died at 3:30 P.M., I telephoned again but counting the difference in time it was after your office hours and I talked to Mr. Hammack at his home. Mr. Hammack called me back this morning shortly after six o'clock for verification of names.

About the same time as my conversation with Mr. Hammack after the death of McCain, I notified the U.S. Attorney at San Franisco, the F.B.I. at San Francisco and the Coroner of San Francisco and I made a statement to be delivered immediately and simultaneously to the press associations and newspapers in San Francisco.

After my talk with the Coroner, we arranged for him to take the body at about 5:30 P.M. I telegraphed Lawrence McCain at Broken Bow, Oklahoma, and have a telegram from him desiring us to ship the body, which will we do as soon as we can make the arrangements with the Coroner to release body to undertaker for shipment.

Inclosed are copies of three reports made by Dr. Ritchey; one at 2:45 P.M. and one following the death, December 3, 1940 and one handed me this morning. I also inclose a copy of the statement I furnished to the coroner and telegram that I sent to the press and copies of the reports made by E.J. Miller, Associate Warden; H.W. Weinhold, Lieutenant; Senior Officer Frank W. Mach; Junior Officer Marshall G. Rose; Junior Officer Wesley C. Hicks; Junior Officer R.F. Spencer; and Foreman Paul M. Pone.

J.A. Johnston

Dr. Ritchey's Final Report and Memo to Coroner