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Friday, June 28, 2013

A sad anniversary

Tracy PressChecking over the Tracy Press files and receiving a phone call combined this week to remind me of an unpleasant, but significant, anniversary.

It was 50 years ago Wednesday, on June 26, 1963, that the first correctional officer at Deuel Vocational Institution was murdered while on duty.

The victim was Connie W. “Conn” Prock, a 23-year-old Tracy resident who had worked at the prison east of town for just over a year.

About the same time I saw the story in a June 28, 1963, edition of the press, a former DVI correctional officer who served with Prock at the time of the murder called from his home out of state to inquire about Press coverage of the killing.

“I was in one of the towers that evening when word came over the phone that an officer, Conn Prock, had been stabbed and was seriously wounded,” the former correctional officer told me by phone. “It wasn’t long before I learned the officer didn’t make it.”

The former DVI officer remembered Prock was fatally stabbed after walking into a third-tier shower area of D Unit upon hearing there was a fight in progress. There was no real fight, but two inmates with prison-made knives were waiting for Prock. They stabbed him multiple times in the chest and back.

He was taken to the DVI hospital, where he died 15 minutes later.

From what the former officer had learned, the pair had a grudge against Prock for stopping a fight they had been involved with two days earlier in the unit’s television room.

Before Prock’s death, DVI had been free of violence against correctional officers since its opening 10 years earlier in 1953. continue reading...

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