In the Line of Duty
James F. Hopkins, 1965 - 1998
Corrections Officer James F. Hopkins, age 33, was killed in the line of duty on August 21, 1998 in a motor vehicle accident. At the time of Officer Hopkins' death, he was driving an inmate transportation van when another vehicle operated by an intoxicated person crossed the median and struck Officer Hopkins' vehicle. Officer Hopkins was ejected from the van, which carried twelve inmates sentenced to the Missouri Department of Corrections and he died at the scene from his injuries.
His fellow officer in the van received cuts, bruises and broken bones. An occupant of a third vehicle also received fatal injuries. The intoxicated driver of the vehicle causing Officer Hopkins' death received a seven year sentence for Involuntary Manslaughter. The driver also received a concurrent seven year sentence for the other fatality, concurrent two year sentences for injuries to Officer Hopkins' partner and occupants of other vehicles and a one year sentence for each injured inmate. The driver had two prior Driving While Intoxicated convictions and numerous prior traffic offenses. The driver was sentenced to a total of seventeen years. At sentencing the prosecutor stated, "Justice demands that the defendant serve the maximum time for taking two innocent lives".
Officer Hopkins resided in Pine Lawn, Missouri and was a lifelong St. Louis area resident. He had graduated from Christian Brothers College (CBC), a college preparatory high school in 1982 and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Southeast Missouri State University in 1990. He joined the St. Louis County Department of Justice Services in January of 1993.
Officer Hopkins served as Corrections Officer in the Main Confinement (maximum custody) section of the St. Louis County Jail prior to his selection as a Transportation Officer. Officer Hopkins was selected for the Transportation Unit based on his exemplary performance as a Corrections Officer. During his career with Justice Services, officer Hopkins was a well trained, dedicated corrections professional.
In the Line of Duty
Henry E. Thierry, 1906 - 1970
Corrections Officer Henry E. (Hank) Thierry, age 64, was killed at the St. Louis County Jail on July 10, 1970. Officer Thierry was killed during a planned jail disturbance by inmates, who attempted to create a diversion for their planned escape. Officer Thierry was found under a bunk with a sheet around his neck, his hands tied behind his back and a rag stuffed in his mouth. Thierry was working overtime on his off day and was scheduled to retire in three days.
Officer Thierry of Brentwood, Missouri was jumped when he entered a prisoner cell block to remove food trays. He was also beaten with makeshift blackjacks fashioned by inmates from socks filled with bars of soap. Two inmates then pried a screen from a window of the outdated jail and attempted to escape with use of bed sheets tied together. The escape never succeeded as the first prisoner became stuck when his shoulders wedged in the narrow opening.
After a verdict of homicide by the St. Louis County Medical Examiner's Office, two inmates were subsequently charged by a St. Louis County Grand Jury with First Degree Murder and Escape Attempt. Both inmates were awaiting trial on robbery charges and had previous escapes from a state penitentiary. One inmate ultimately pleaded guilty to manslaughter and received a ten year sentence consecutive to life term for four counts of robbery. It was determined that law enforcement authorities believed Officer Thierry was not killed intentionally. The fate of the other prisoner is not available.