Visit our "store" tab for the best in Bloody Angola Podcast merch!
Feb. 2, 2023

Dying In prison!

Dying In prison!

Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola is known for it's unique way of honoring convicts after they die in prison.

Woody Overton AND Jim Chapman lay out the details when prisoners incarcerated at Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola die. 

What is the funeral procession like....Do family members claim the bodies...where and how are they buried? 

Answers to all this and more on this 5th episode of Season 3 titled Dying in Prison.

#BloodyAngolaPodcast #Dyinginprison #Podcast #Podcasts #truecrime #prison #convict

Advertising Inquiries:

Privacy & Opt-Out:

For Louisiana Local Advertising inquiries or to book appearances please email


Woody: -Angola.
Jim: A podcast 142 years in the making.

Woody: The Complete Story of America's Bloodiest Prison.

Jim: And I'm Jim Chapman.

Woody: And I'm Woody Overton.

Jim: And we're going to talk to y'all about some amazing programs that take place in Angola today. It's going to be a little different episode. No murder stuff going on today.

Woody: Right. Well, it's got a lot of death in it. Jim: It sure does. [laughs]

Woody: Not necessarily murder. Some of them, I'm sure, were murders that occurred inside the wire.

Jim: That's a great point.
Woody: But ultimately none of us are getting out of this life alive. Jim: That's right.

Woody: Always talk about almost 6000 inmates and how 80% of them are going to die inside the wire. Well, think about that, y'all. If you get sentenced to life Angola, let's say you're 20 years old and you're going to have family members and they care about you and love you and all that stuff. But over the years, what happens? Your mom and your daddy are going to die. Your grandparents are going to die. Your siblings are going to have lives of their own and life goes on. We've heard so many times that the inmates say everybody forgets about them. If you live another 50 years in Angola, then really you don't have anybody to care about you on the outside anymore but the people that you're locked up with basically become your family and your best friends.

Jim: That's right. A lot of these people or probably the vast majority are locked up for things that are just horrific, and you don't end up in Angola for life if you were an altar boy. In a lot of cases, family maybe turned their backs on them and was the black sheep of that family or whatever and they don't have anybody to pay those respects at the end of their life and so they get buried at Angola in the prison. We're going to go into of that information.

Point Lookout Cemetery is the prison cemetery in Angola. It's located on the north side of Angola. It's at the base of the Tunica Hills. This is obviously a situation where what we just told you about, family members are also deceased or there's just no family members that want anything to do with them.

Woody: Or maybe they don't have the financial means to come and claim the body when the inmate dies. So, they're forgotten about. But Louisiana has the highest incarceration rate of any US state and of course, sentencing is extremely harsh. But at Angola, 73% of the

6250 inmates are serving sentences of life without parole. The average sentence for the remaining 27% that aren't serving life without is still 90.9 years.

Jim: Pretty much alive.

Woody: Right. Prisoners aren't even sent to Angola unless they're sentence is over 50 years. Y'all, I believe that's more likely 80 years, like I said in the past. Basically, the result of this is with sentences of this length, most inmates lose touch with the family members and there's no one to collect the remains when they die.

Jim: This prison has been around a long time. Go back and listen to The Walls and how Angola got started, but Angola has been around forever.

Woody: 140 some years.
Jim: 142 years in the making, if you want to get specific. During that time, they did have

another cemetery. Woody's going to give you a little heads-up on what happened with that.

Woody: Well, the first Angola cemetery got destroyed by a flood in 1927. Now, y'all remember, Angola is surrounded by the Mississippi River on three sides, and every few years, it grows outside of this bank and floods everything. But in 1927, when the flood happened and the water receded, the remains and caskets were found along the levee, and it was impossible to identify anyone. The bodies were reburied in a mass grave in a new cemetery called Point Lookout. It was about two acres, but it was full by the mid 1990s. It contained 331 marked graves and an unknown number of people in the mass grave. An annex, Point Lookout 2, is now in use, and it has a capacity of 700 plots. Approximately 100 of those graves now have been filled, and with the aging inmate population, it will likely max out-

Jim and Woody: Near future.

Woody: In the past, convicts were buried basically in cardboard boxes, y'all. And today, thanks to Warden Cain, the deceased are buried in coffins made at the prison woodshops by an inmate master carpenter. That's his only job, y'all. These handmade caskets are constructed with brown stained birch and pine. It takes about a week to make just one. Other inmates make the shrouds for the coffins. I want to read you a quote of what Burl Cain said. He said, "Once a man dies, his sentence is complete, and there should be dignity in the passing," Warden Burl Cain.

Jim: There you go. You've heard us mention Warden Burl Cain before, and I can't wait to be in the future we're going to do an episode centered completely around Warden Cain, because like every other human being in the world, he had faults in his life, but be hard pressed to find a more respected warden than Warden Cain, and I'm talking nationally. This guy is well known to people that aren't even in the prison circles. So, that tells you who he was, absolutely-- and still alive today and runs the Mississippi Correctional-- the entire correctional system for the state of Mississippi. So, I don't mean to talk as if he's not with us anymore.

Woody: Y'all, I've known him for over 30 years. I've worked for him at Dixon Correctional Institute. He is a very religious man, but he's a nonsense man. But he actually cares about the prisoners, as strange as that sounds. He cares about them and he wants to give them dignity, even in death.

Jim: Yes.

Woody: He was very instrumental in bringing all the changes to Angola, from healthcare to prison inmate programs and give them hope and stuff like that. But he specifically cares about them in death. And even the executions, he stands with them he eats their last meal-- or he used to when he was in Angola. He would eat the last meal with them, whatever they chose. He was there with them when they took the last breath.

Jim: 100%. I'll tell you a quick story about how Burl Cain transformed not only the caskets themselves, but the entire process of conducting a funeral for these Angola inmates. When he was in his first year at Angola, they had a burial for one of the prisoners that he attended. At that burial, they were lowering the prisoner into the ground. At this time, they were essentially crates with cardboard--

Woody: Basically, like a cardboard box. A big, long cardboard box that holds the body.

Jim: They're lowering this inmate down and the bottom fell out of the cardboard box. If that wasn't bad enough, as they started piling dirt on, the top end of the cardboard casket collapsed. In Burl Cain's eyes, this has got to change. It was a total loss of dignity.

Woody: Right, dignity there.

Jim: At that point, he seeked out who was considered the best carpenter in Angola, talked to him and said, "Look, we want you to head this new program where we're going to build caskets for the prisoners." The guy was more than willing to do it, obviously. And off they went with the casket building that has become world renowned. We'll tell you later about some people you may have heard of that have actually been buried in caskets built by prisoners of Angola.

Woody: Right. Now, think about this, y'all. Everybody gets sentenced to Angola-- well, I can't say everybody, but a lot of them have certain crafts that they're masters of before they went in. This guy was a master carpenter. I mean, you have electricians, you have lawyers, you have doctors, you have painters, whatever. Burl sought out the best carpenter. I know they have a lot of them, but he sought out the best carpenter to make these caskets. Now, I know we're going to talk about more in detail but think about how much a casket costs. It costs you like $7000, $8,000 for a general casket for a funeral now, but think about how much it would cost you to have a hand crafted-

Jim: Custom made.
Woody: -custom-made, just beautiful piece of artwork so you can go to eternal rest in it. Jim: 100%. And he also instituted some other programs.

Woody: In 1998, Burl, the funeral process, just taking a casket out there, even though it was hand built and all that in the back of a pickup truck, that still is not like a funeral procession. So, in 1998, he had inmates build a black horse-drawn hearse modeled after an 1800s vintage funeral coach for use during the burial rites. Now, this hearse is a beautiful piece of artwork in itself, and it's pulled by two large white Percheron horses. The hearse is driven by an inmate dressed in black tailcoat and a black high hat, which are also made in Angola in the sewing shop. And six pallbearer follow the coach on the road to the cemetery and assist with the burial. Inmate ministers conduct a service, and the living, traditionally sinned, they're departed away with acapella rendition, "Praise the Lord, I'm free. No longer bound. No more chains holding me. My soul is resting. It's just a blessing. Praise the Lord. Hallelujah. I am free."

Jim: Yeah, it's a sight to be seen, really, these horse-drawn carriages, and so much respect is put into that. You may ask yourself, we're talking here about two cemeteries now that have been built since the one in 1927 flooded, and why is that such an issue? Well, to tell you a little bit about the issues, not only with Angola, but any prison in the country, most likely that's a maximum-security prison, is most people that are sent there, it's horrific crimes that they're going to spend a lot of their life, if not the majority, if not all of their life there. And it's caused a problem. The rise in lengthy mandatory sentences that have really come along as of late has caused a big boom in lifers in prison. As a matter of fact, there's about 2.1 million lifers in the United States right now, compared to about 500,000 in 1980.

Woody: Let me tell you this, Jim. In 1991, when I was studying criminal justice at Southeastern, the incarceration rate for the whole United States was only like 700,000 people. Now, there's millions. We do lead the world in locking people up, and a large percent of that are people who are going to die of prison.

Jim: Yeah, so it has caused quite an issue when it comes to what do you do with these people when they die? Not everybody gets cremated. Some may choose to get cremated, but a lot of inmates now, because the healthcare is so much better in the prison systems than it used to be, they're living a while, 70, 80 years old, and then they die from natural causes. As a matter of fact, that has risen over 40%, the death from natural causes in the last 10 years. That's why they're having to add to these graveyards and all of that. I would imagine family isn't what it used to be with collecting-- I don't know if the right term is collecting these prisoners after their death but claiming the bodies.

Woody: Again, they're down for so long, people die. Their family members die, or they just lose touch. Or, like you said, they don't want to have anything to do with them. Well, then the burden falls back on the state. Now, certainly they could just bury them in the mass grave. There's no rules on that, no laws on it. They don't have to do anything. They could just cremate everyone if they wanted to. But Burl Cain took it to the next level.

Jim: Yeah, he really did. Just another thing on Burl Cain now that we've mentioned him, is Burl Cain was also kind of a businessman in Angola. What I mean by that is he watched the dollars and cents and all of that really was an important part of how you ran a prison. One thing he figured out early on was that these flimsy cardboard crates, essentially, that they were burying these prisoners in, it was costing anywhere from $650 to $900 a piece to bury these guys. Well, he figured out, and he went to that carpenter that we mentioned earlier, and he said, "Look, what about $250, you think you can make a--?" The guy said, "Yeah, I can make one." And he wasn't paying the prisoner $250. He was saying how much would it cost for the wood and the nails and things like that. It came up to be an average cost of about $250. So, not only did he give them a more dignified, beautiful coffin that was handmade around their specifications, but he also saved about $400 a burial in the process.

Woody: That's crazy. Anyhow, Burl was a big champion of making Angola as self-reliant and I guess you call it self-producing, as you can, everything from the vegetables in the field to making license plates to whatever. Try to make it where it pays for itself.

Jim: That's right. Another reason why prisoners, convicts loved Warden Cain was when you do things like that, that's a respect thing with them. And it's obvious that Cain respected them.

Woody: Probably, respect is something they never got in their entire lives.

Jim: Yeah, right. So, very beloved, beloved warden of Angola and still active today in the system. Now, another thing that we want to bring up with regard to the burials is the process of taking care of these guys before they die. Now, there's hospice. If you're a free person,

you have hospice when you get cancer at some point, or Alzheimer's or all these things, but you're not immune to that in prison.

Woody: That's right. Certainly, prisoners get cancer or-

Jim: Alzheimer's.

Woody: -Alzheimer's, every type of disease that free people get. I mean, it's there.

Jim: You may be surprised to know that Angola has probably the top hospice center in the country, relative to the prison system.

Woody: The majority of that care is given by other inmates to the dying inmates. So, there's a respect thing there. Certainly, they become attached to the people who are dying even if they didn't know them throughout their prison career.

Jim: That's exactly right. That was another brainstorm by Warden Cain, and that was to start a hospice care system. He already had a treatment center there, a medical center for your obvious injuries that you get every day in prison. Whether you getting shanked or-- [chuckles]

Woody: Back in the old episodes when they say broken backs and stuff.

Jim: Yeah, you're getting the bat applied to you. They had a treatment center and they realized that one thing they lacked was a hospice center, especially as cancer became more prevalent and Alzheimer's really reared its ugly head. You were having to deal with these inmates in a totally different way.

Woody: Basically, like we said, the average lifespan inmate grew tremendously. Jim: Tremendously.

Woody: As long you live, certainly the higher percentage chance that you're going to contract some type of disease or illness.

Jim: Yeah, 100%. He did what he does, and he went to his inmate trustees, and he said he needed volunteers for a hospice unit to assist the medical staff there, and tons of these trustees volunteered. This was something to them that was an honor to get involved with. Actually, they had seminars for weeks and weeks on how to deal with hospice patients. So, you have these inmates that are in Angola maybe serving life themselves for murder and they were taking care of these cancer patients.

Woody: And probably some of the best trained hospice caregivers in the world.

Jim: There's no doubt. And he didn't stop there. He even went as far as to have sessions that were devoted to managing like personal stress and working through the bereavement process with families because you've got to remember, some of these inmates still had families that visited them every visit day. They were going to miss this person when they died. They're going through cancer or whatever it is. So, they actually even had certification classes on how to deal with family members. So, you would have these convicts actually counseling the family--[crosstalk]

Woody: They're basically the grief counselors. Jim: Yeah, exactly.

Woody: Seven stages of grief.
Jim: 100%. One of the most well-known hospice care individuals was Wilbert Rideau who is

Woody: Award winning--[crosstalk]

Jim: Angolite editor. Yeah, just an amazing writer and very, very well known in Angola and all of that. One thing that we definitely wanted to impress on today is the care that Angola takes with that population. It is their own little world there, even down to their burials, even down to the hospice care treatment that they receive. You would never think, you would think these guys get Alzheimer's and they're just in their cell, not knowing who they are anymore. But very similar to what you would get-- not quite the facilities and things that you would get on the outside, but state of the art for prison.

Woody: Right. Certainly, the care level, the respect given to them, they could just lock them away and let them die, like you said, in a cell, but they didn't do that.

Jim: Yeah. An interesting stat for you to chart down in your mental brain is just last year, nearly three times as many inmates died at Angola as made parole.

Woody: Really?

Jim: Three out of four died in Angola. So, you've got to bury those folks or cremate them or whatever. I don't know really who gets a-- I would imagine the convict gets a choice of whether they want to be buried or cremated. If anybody knows out there, maybe comment, let us know. That would be interesting.

Now, one recent trend is in the favor of building geriatric prisons, where actually it's a prison centered only for older prisoners. They've even had, Woody, some recent success, and this is nationwide, not just Angola, but if you're a prisoner, you're 85, you get Alzheimer's, they slap an ankle bracelet on you and let you go home. I don't know what everybody's feeling, all the listeners feeling would be on that. But if they're considered absolutely no risk anymore to society and they're six months away from death--

Woody: And confined to wheelchairs and mentally, they're gone and stuff like that, it would be much cheaper for the state to-

Jim: Bingo.
Woody: -let them go. Not let them go because certainly they'll be monitored to a certain

extent, but it's a hell of a lot cheaper than housing and paying for the medical care yourself.

Jim: You just to hit the nail on the head. You're exactly right. It costs about $3,200 a year for ankle bracelet to be applied to a geriatric prisoner, versus over $10,000 a year it would cost to house one. So, if it's someone who had psychological and emotional damage, basically to where they had like Alzheimer's and they're no harm to society--

Woody: I mean, you can monitor them. Jim: Eighty-five-year-old guy--

Woody: And electronically monitored. If they go outside their geofencing area-- which you're 85, I doubt that's going to happen. But if they do, then probation, parole gets alerted, they can go check in on them.

Jim: Yeah. Another interesting stat for you that you may want to write down as well, and this is from 2011. But in 2011, which is the last time this stat was released that I could find, state and federal prisons were housing approximately 100,000 inmates over the age of 55.

Woody: Hell, I'm almost that old.
Jim: And you're still in the free world, Woody Overton. Woody: [crosstalk] every day.

Jim: [laughs] That's right. So, that was some really interesting stuff. From there, Angola's got this state-of-the-art hospice system. They've got these caskets that are just absolutely beautiful that you may at least consider a dignified burial if you're a convict. There's some pretty well-known people that have been buried in these, one of those being Billy Cannon.

Woody: Right.
Jim: We talked about him.
Woody: First one to ever win the Heisman for LSU and would spend his career at Angola. Jim: Yeah.
Woody: Helping inmates.

Jim: Helping inmates. He was a dentist by trade. Eventually, he led up the entire medical department at Angola because he was such a leader. When he passed away, he requested, and it was one of his dying wishes that he be buried in a casket built by the Angola inmates. So, not only were they totally honored to do that for him, meaning the convicts, but they also paid for it, out of their own money.

Woody: That's right. Their own inmate fund. And, y'all, that casket was seen by thousands of people at the memorial service.

Jim: Yeah. Of course, Billy Cannon being buried at what's known as the PMAC-- Well, that wasn't where he's buried, but where his visitation was at the PMAC and the only person I'm familiar with that had a visitation at the PMAC.

Woody: I've never heard of that before. Jim: Yeah.

Woody: Probably tens of thousands that came to pay their respects, and every one of them saw the casket that was built by and paid for by convicts.

Jim: That's right. We'll tell you about another famous individual that was also buried in an Angola casket that was built by convicts, and that was the Reverend Billy Graham.

Woody: That's crazy to think about.

Jim: It's unbelievable. I'm going to tell you the story of how that came about. But first, I don't even want to say, for those of you that aren't familiar with the Reverend Billy Graham because I can't imagine one person that's never heard of-- [crosstalk]

Woody: I'm pretty sure Billy Graham had a straight line to heaven.

Jim: I'm going to tell you what, he was an amazing, amazing person that I didn't know personally, obviously, but just following his life, and this is a man that could have as many millions as he wanted.

Woody: Oh, yeah. He could have been Jimmy Swaggart and built colleges and everything else, but he just--

Jim: Lived in a small house pretty much.
Woody: Right. He's a humble man and dedicated his life to God.

Jim: That's right. And you know he's not from Louisiana. You may wonder, "Well, how the heck did Billy Graham end up in a casket by Angola inmates?" Well, his son actually visited Angola. His name is Franklin Graham. As he was touring Angola, he ended up in the Casket Room, is what they call it, where they're building these caskets. And he was absolutely blown away. Could not believe what he saw. Thought it was the most beautiful caskets ever made. On the spot, he asked the casket maker, "I would like to order two of these," and this is going to sound morbid, "One for my mom and one for my dad," and they were still alive, but he was so blown away from him. He's like, "I want to go ahead, I'll pay for them right now. And when they pass away, we won't have to worry about caskets or picking anything out. I want something simple. My dad would love this."

Woody: Right. That's something that as a son, I can respect that because you can go to any funeral parlor and buy some mass-made-type whatever casket. But he saw the care and the ornate woodwork and the love that was put in this casket making, and he was like, "I want that for my mom and dad." That tells you what kind of awesomeness these caskets are.

Jim: Yeah. Set your eyes on them, just blow you away. The simplicity and beauty. Woody: I'm pretty sure Billy Graham could have got any free casket from anybody in the

Jim: In the world. He could have got a gold casket.

Woody: He could have got a solid gold casket, yeah. But he wanted or his son wanted him to have caskets built in Angola.

Jim: Yeah. So he did. He went home and of course told his mom and dad about this. His dad thought it was the most beautiful gesture ever because it fit him perfectly. It fit his wife, Ruth, perfectly. These are simple, stained, beautiful caskets that have a cross, basically formed into them on the top. There's nothing that you would look at and it would be, "Oh, look at the shiny gold," or look at the--

Woody: The brass. Jim: Simple beauty. Woody: Yeah.

Jim: No brass on the side. It's all made of wood and handcrafted and lathed and sanded just to this almost ice-skating rink.

Woody: I want to know how many hours go into building one.
Jim: Well, they say that the casket maker spends eight hours a day and it takes about a

week for each one. So, you're talking about-- Woody: 40 plus hours.
Jim: Solid working.
Woody: Right.

Jim: To make one of these beautiful caskets. Of course, Billy Graham had a very full life and a very long life, a blessed life. He lived actually to the age of 99, y'all.

Woody: That is crazy.
Jim: 99 years old. He died and was laid to rest after lying in state for two days on the US

Capitol rotunda.

Woody: Wow. Talk about Billy Cannon's casket getting being seen, president saw Billy Graham's and all congressmen and senators and everybody else. Two days laying in state.

Jim: Two days laying in state. [crosstalk] Millions of people, because it was televised. Woody: Televised, that's right. So, if you saw Billy Graham laying in the state, you saw an

Angola casket.

Jim: That's exactly right. Another interesting thing about Franklin Graham, when he went to Angola, he was really blown away by the history, much like you and me, Woody. He loved history, and apparently prison history, but especially as it relates to religion. In Angola, as we've talked about, you probably don't have more churches on a prison than Angola. A lot of that, again, credit to Burl Cain, who really is credited with bringing religion to Angola. When Franklin Graham visited, he noticed everything from the beauty of the pews in these churches inside Angola and all the woodwork, which obviously goes into building a casket as well. He even noticed the steeple for one of the churches was one of these high-up steeples. From death row, if you looked out of one of the windows in death row, it would be directly in front of the steeple. And that was never necessarily intended. It just kind of worked out that way.

Woody: Isn't that amazing?
Jim: Yeah. It was the perfect placement for that steeple because as you look out that

window, the way he described it is all you saw was a cross. Woody: Right.

Jim: Pretty powerful stuff. So, he was very touched by Angola, and obviously that is evidenced in the fact that he purchased the caskets for his parents from Angola. But what a story that is. We always want to bring you something different on Bloody Angola, and that's something that's different and unique about it.

Woody: Jim and I are going to go to Angola, and everything we're talking about, and we'll be able to bring you more information on it as we see with our own two eyes, right?

Jim: Yeah. We're not going to tell you exactly when we're going, but we're going to do an episode. [chuckles]

Woody: Security.

Jim: We're not going to tell you, but when we get back from that trip, we're going to give you an episode centered around our trip. We're going to tell y'all about it. It's going to be an episode just on everything we did and who showed us around, what we learned, what we saw.

Woody: I can assure you, we're going to the casket shop. [crosstalk] Jim: Absolutely.

Woody: The place where they build the caskets, and Point Lookout Cemetery. I want to stand there.

Jim: I want to see everything. We'll see everything. So, look for that episode soon. I want to give you another little quick story, I thought y'all might find this interesting. We've been talking about prison cemeteries today, obviously, with Angola, and I thought it'd be kind of cool to tell one from something away from Angola, but definitely very historical and definitely a prison cemetery. I want to tell you about one in Yuma, Arizona, and you might be familiar with Yuma. Old West times, right?

Woody: Right.
Jim: Six shooters, pow.
Jim: Yeah, draw it.
Woody: 3:10 to Yuma. Have you seen that? Jim: Yeah.
Woody: That's a good movie.

Jim: I've seen that. You may wonder back in those days, did they have prison cemeteries? And they absolutely did. I'm going to tell you about this one in Yuma. There were a total of about 111 prisoner deaths that occurred within that prison. This is during kind of the Wild West times, y'all. A total of 104 of those persons were buried at the cemetery in Yuma. So, the bodies of the other seven prisoners, those got claimed by the family. Think about that, y'all. Out of 111 prisoners, 104 of them, nobody wanted back or they didn't even realize they were dead or where they were. I mean, this is Wild West times.

Woody: It wasn't like that, social media. [crosstalk] Jim: Yeah, they don't have emails.
Woody: You don't get your loved one.

Jim: That's right. I mean, it was literally Pony Express back then if you find anything else. I'm going to tell you about a guy named Pete Devereaux. Pete Devereaux was a convict that on his way to Yuma, tried to escape by jumping off the train. He was going to Yuma prison, he couldn't deal with it, jumped off the train, hit his head on a rock on the way down and died.

Woody: That hurt.

Jim: Yeah. That was the 112th death that you won't hear about from Yuma. But only one female died in prison, and her name was Pearl Iker. There's not a whole lot of research on her. But people do wonder about, "Didn't females commit crimes in those days?" Yes, they did, but only one on record died in prison.

Woody: Only Jim Chapman can find this, y'all.

Jim: [chuckles] I'm telling you, I was digging. Now, burials were simple and quick, so I did. I was wondering about burials. A shallow grave was dug where a wooden casket containing the body was lowered. They would cover that with dirt and overlay it with rocks. They didn't have like the crosses.

Woody: Keep the--[crosstalk]

Jim: Yeah, which incidentally, at Angola's cemetery, they do have the cement crosses for every prisoner that marks where their grave is. So, you may wonder what some of these prisoners died from, and this may or may not surprise you, but the majority of those prisoners died from tuberculosis.

Woody: Really?
Jim: Yeah. Wyatt Earp. He wasn't a prisoner, but he died-- at least that's what Tombstone,

my favorite movie--

Woody: Yeah, [crosstalk] in Colorado cemetery.

Jim: I'm your I'm Your Huckleberry.

Woody: [crosstalk] - I'm Your Huckleberry.

Jim: Johnny Ringo. I love that movie, y'all. But 46 prisoners died of tuberculosis, which is known as consumption. They used to blame it on drinking alcohol.

Woody: Really?

Jim: Yeah.

Woody: When I worked for Department of Corrections, I had to get TB tested. What they do is they give you like a shot in your arm and you have to come back a couple of days later. If you have a bump, guess what? You got the TB. TB is a very real thing in prison to this day.

Jim: Yeah.

Woody: You think about COVID, but TB is the original COVID, I would guess.

Jim: That's right. My wife has to get a TB shot every year because she works at a hospital, and they take a chance of coming in contact with people with tuberculosis. So, they have to get checked for that every year and get, I guess, vaccinated or whatever for it.

Interesting thing is they figured out over time that tuberculosis was not caused by alcohol and they figured out it was more caused by people living in close quarters like you're speaking of, a prison.

Woody: Right. If you think it's not caused by alcohol, probably [crosstalk] living in the wrong time, y'all.


Jim: So, they figured that out. Of course, one of the ways that they figured that out, so if y'all were ever wondering how they discovered tuberculosis was people in close quarters, it was the majority of people that were getting it were locked up in prisons, and they were like, "Wait a minute, there's some commonality here." In Yuma Prison, 46 of them, that's what they died in. Most of the grave markers at Yuma prison, they remained intact until about 1950. Since then, all of them were kind of taken by souvenir hunters. Think about it, you see a gravestone that says "Yuma" on it, these souvenir hunters would steal them. A lot of them just deteriorated over time. I mean, 100 years, that's a pretty old cement back in those days. They were typically made from either cement, like we just mentioned, or sometimes slabs of wood. It would just be wood that was burned and with, "Here lies--"

Woody: Johnny Joe.

Jim: "Johnny Joe. He fell and stumped his toes."


Woody: Something like that. "And he'd be here no mo."

Jim: "And he'd be here no mo." I'm telling you, y'all, that's how they used to mark them things.

Woody: Those probably got taken. Johnny Joe's probably got taken--[crosstalk]
Jim: No doubt about it. Actually, they would mark at Yuma specifically the prisoner's name,

number, and the date of death. So, they wouldn't even have the birth on there.

Woody: I'm pretty sure that there is no theft of headstones from Angola from Point Lookout [crosstalk] being that's inside the wire.

Jim: [laughs] Yeah. Ain't nobody looking to take that route. They might end up in there. Woody: [crosstalk]
Woody: Grave robbery is still a very big thing to this day.

Jim: Oh, it's huge.

Woody: Don't bury me with any-- I don't wear jewelry anyway, but if I had it, I don't want to be buried. Thank God I don't have any gold teeth. Yeah, that's good. What kind of sick bastard does it take to dig up a grave?

Jim: I'm going to tell you, and then to take a gold tooth-- I mean, some of these people probably buried with nice watches and wedding rings, but I mean, you've got to be the one [crosstalk] right?

Woody: It's not like you know what's in there. It's a potluck. You're going around in the middle of the night digging up graves, hoping you'd find a gold tooth. Bro, get a job. [laughs]

Jim: Yeah, get a job, man. What are you doing? Woody: Grave robber.

Jim: Grave robber. I'll tell you what, speaking of that, Woody, in Denham Springs, they had a situation where they just destroyed about 10, I guess it's headstones that sit up on the graveyard here and just tipped them over, broke them, a vandal. I'm like, "Man--"

Woody: What a disrespect. Jim: "Bruh, you got problems."

Woody: Yeah, I worked a case, it just popped in my mind. It was in Tangipahoa Parish where the family members kept going out and putting flowers and little mementos on the graves, and they always come up missing. They tracked it back to a lady probably about my age, in her mid-50s, and she would go out there and steal the items off the graves, and she was a hoarder. She had them all stashed in her house.

Jim: Oh, my gosh.
Woody: That's probably a mental illness there.

Jim: Yeah, there's got to be. So, you may wonder, can you visit the Yuma cemetery to this day? The territorial prison cemetery they called it? You can. It's on South Levee Road in Yuma, Arizona. So, if you're in the Yuma area- [chuckles]

Woody: Go check it out.

Jim: -go check it out. You can also visit the Angola cemetery at certain times. You'll have to get in touch with Angola to find out when or when we get back, we'll tell you, how about that? So, we appreciate y'all listening. We want to bring you something this week. It's been a busy week for Woody Overton. He has on Friday, which would be tomorrow, the Real Life Real Crime Krewe Bash.

Woody: Starts, right? Jim: Yeah.

Woody: Friday night, VIP event. Saturday night, the main event. And the tickets are on sale for both. You can do one or both nights. You can just go to the VIP Friday night event, which we're having a huge auction for LOPA, or you can buy the tickets for both nights through the VIP. Or you can just buy Saturday night event.

Jim: Let's go through it real quick. On the Friday night, what do we have going on?

Woody: Friday night, I'm going to go in and take pictures and sign autographs with everybody that's there. We got Lifers already from all over the United States. A lot of them take this like a vacation week and come to South Louisiana and hang out, and it culminates

with the Krewe Bash. But Friday night, it's more of an intimate setting, a couple of hundred people, and I get to spend time with everybody, and we drink. And then, we have so many donations that people donate everything from diamond necklaces and the earrings to cooking pots to [unintelligible [00:45:53] to whatever.

Jim: Tons of stuff, y'all.

Woody: iPads and iWatches and all this stuff. I'm going to get on the stage later on in the night after we had quite a few-- oh, including two hog hunts being auctioned off with me, yours truly, where you come stay at my place. Now last year when I was on stage, I had a little bit to drink, and somebody said I should auction off a hog hunt. Then, the money started going and up and he got up in the thousands and I said, "Hell, for that much you can sleep with me." I didn't mean with me, I mean in my house.


Woody: That's going to go on. And even Chase Tyler is going to be there. The two-time Louisiana Country Music Hall and Fame and [unintelligible [00:46:39].

Jim: One of my favorites.

Woody: Hanging out as a fan with his wife. If you want to meet him, he'll be there. It's just going to be a blowout chill time, Friday night, intimate gathering. Because Saturday night, the Krewe Bash, it's going to be packed. I'm going to take the stage and do a live, never-before-heard interactive adult podcast. If you've been to the Krewe Bash before, you know what that means. You know what it means on Sunday morning when you hit-- [crosstalk] More importantly, we're celebrating justice for Courtney Coco.

Jim: Amen.

Woody: And the conviction of David Anthony Burns after 18 years for her murder. The cold case we solved on Real Life Real Crime. We're celebrating all the awards we won this year, the podcast awards. My 53rd birthday will be at midnight, and Chase Tyler is going to play. Chase Tyler band is going to rock after I get done with my show.

But we also-- when I get down with the show and you'll be on the stage with me, brother, because you've done it again, we're doing our big raffle draw for LOPA, Louisiana Organ Procurement Human Agency. We've raised a lot of money for them in the last couple of years. I'm hoping to do that again this year, but we're going to have the drawings for all the big prizes and Local Leaders podcast is one of the donors, one of the many. And it's just going to be fire.

Jim: Look, it really is. I've been to every one of the Krewe Bash, and I can tell you, number one, prepare your liver.

Jim: Drink plenty of water before and after, even in between. Woody: Now, they got this hydration packets.
Jim: Yeah. [chuckles]
Woody: Liquid I.V.

Jim: Liquid I.V. That's right. Woody: Y'all should sponsor us.

Jim: Yeah, [chuckles] that's right. That's a free plug for them. I'll tell you, it is an absolute blast. You're there with nothing but true crime fans, which is--

Woody: It's like our family. Everybody's chill. Everybody's there to party and have a good time.

Jim: And it is. It's a great time amongst the hundreds and hundreds of your best friends. So, look forward to seeing any and all of you there. There's still tickets available. You can get them through Eventbrite, and you can get those links on any of the-- just trust me, go to Real Life Real Crimes Facebook, you'll find the link.

Woody: And the LOPA raffle tickets links are there also. Jim: We love LOPA.

Woody: You don't have to be present to win the Saturday night, the big prize drawings. Friday night, you do have to be present to win or to bid on any of the auction items.

Jim: Yeah, those would be live auctions. Look, they're always a hit. And this is good stuff, y'all. We ain't giving away jelly of the month.

Woody: Right. [chuckles] Jelly of the month [crosstalk] that’s the gift that keeps giving all year long.

Jim: That’s right.

Woody: Thank you for everybody that’s coming and everybody's already here. It's crazy. But what I want to do, Him, is flip it back for a second. I want to thank our patron members for--[crosstalk]

Jim: Absolutely.

Woody: You don't know what it means to us. Ultimately, this is a business, and we have expenses and things cost, and we could not do these shows without y'all. We hope you're enjoying your bonus episodes and your benefits.

Jim: Yeah, you've got everything from commercial-free early releases, which are a huge deal. If you're listening to this episode, it's definitely Wednesday because we release it on Thursdays to our non-patron members. So, if you're listening to it commercial free right now, it's on a Wednesday, you're getting that as a benefit for being a patron member and supporting us. There's benefits from there, including bonus episodes from time to time. And look, you get complete full transcripts, even with some of those upper-level tiers, and those are not cheap. We actually use the best transcription company. They transcribe these by hand.

Woody: We don't even have that for Real Life Real Crime. I don't know of another true crime, although this is true crime documentary, I guess you would classify Bloody Angola. I don't know of another true crime show that does it.

Jim: Yeah. I'll tell you, it's something where me and Woody got these good Southern accents. The problem with that is nobody can transcribe us right.

Woody: I can't even transcribe my own shit.

Jim: [laughs] The people that actually do this, they do it by hand. It's not a machine, so there's no errors in it. You can literally print that thing out and it's in PDF form. As a patron member, you get the PDF version of this. You can print it out and it's just like reading a book.

Woody: I have had, in the five years of Real Life Real Crime, numerous people reach out to me about that. I never pursued it. You had numerous people reach out to us about it and you pursued it, so hats off to you for that.

Jim: Tons of people just said they like reading better than listening. Woody: There's also people who are deaf and can't hear it.
Jim: That's right.
Woody: So, that's a big deal.

Jim: Huge benefit for them. All those benefits are yours on our Bloody Angola Patreon page. So important to what we do here. We couldn't freaking do it without these members.

Woody: Tell them how to sign up for Patreon or go look go look it up.

Jim: Yeah, there's several ways you can do that. You can go to the Bloody Angola Facebook page, and there's a link tree on the home page there. You'll see it'll say L-I-N-K-T-R-E-E. You click that and it'll pull up the various links to get our media. The very first link you see will say Patreon page or say Chase Team. You click on that will bring you to the Patreon page. Or you can just go to, and that will bring you right to the Patreon.

Woody: It has all the different tier levels. Jim: It does.

Woody: What the benefits are, what the subscription fee is a month. And we even have a yearly subscription fee now where you save money.

Jim: Yes. Two months off with that annual subscription, and you save two months off of what we consider already very fair pricing for what you're getting out of that Patreon. Look, it's really all love that y'all support what we do here, and we're just trying to continue to build it. Please share Bloody Angola with your family, friends, and even people maybe you don't like. [chuckles] If you hadn't rated us yet-

Woody: Yeah. That's a big one.

Jim: Huge. If you like what we're hearing, please go and leave a rating on wherever you're listing this, if it's Spotify, Apple Podcast, whatever. It helps other people to find the show, and it helps build our following.

Woody: The larger we grow, the more we get to do. Jim: That's right.

Woody: We hope you enjoyed it. We love and appreciate each and every one of y'all. Hey, if you can't be a Patreon member, we get that.

Jim: Totally.
Woody: We totally get it. We love you, too. Right?

Jim: That's right. We love anyone that listens to us talk about the history of the bloodiest prison in America.

Woody: Absolutely.
Jim: And until next time, I'm Jim Chapman.
Woody: I'm Woody Overton.
Jim: Your host to Bloody-
Woody: -Angola.
Jim: A podcast, 142 years in the making.
Woody: The Complete Story of America's Bloodiest Prison. Jim and Woody: Peace.
[Bloody Angola theme playing]