Friday, November 21, 2014

The Ghost of RD Wall at Moundsville

The Boiler Room, from Haunted History
Robert Daniel Wall, inmate #44670, was serving a life sentence at the West Virginia State Penitentiary at Moundsville for a Logan County rape conviction.  More commonly known as R.D., he was a model prisoner and a favorite of the wardens.  Therefore, he was entrusted to work as the inmate maintenance clerk. He spent the majority of his time under the administration building in what was the prison's boiler room, working and even living near the base of operations for the maintenance department.

Unfortunately it is there that his life ended.  On October 8, 1979, R.D. Wall was brutally attacked and killed.  His fingertips were cut off, and some believe he may even have been decapitated...or at least had his throat severely sliced.  Overall, it was a horribly bloody and vicious murder.

It's common knowledge that inmates serving sentences for certain crimes against women and children tend to be targets of violence for other inmates, but the prisoners of the WV state pen had another reason to hate R.D. Wall---it was widely accepted that he was a prison snitch.

Rumor has it that a day or so before, an inmate had overheard Wall speaking with Warden Richard Mohn about some of the activities of the other inmates.  After breakfast, a group of inmates snuck downstairs, armed with their homemade knives and attacked Wall.  He managed to briefly break free from his attackers, but died in an adjoining room.

Although there are a lot of rumors and false information out there about R.D. Wall, we do know from an Associated Press newspaper article about the murder that this, and another attack later in the day, followed a prison-wide theft investigation.  Was R.D. Wall really guilty of being a snitch, and if he was, did he have inside information about the thefts that were happening?

It seems that either way, R.D. Wall is still roaming the area, trying to make contact with those who dare enter his basement home.  Women who have visited the area where he was killed have felt a hand stroking their hair or their cheek.  Disembodied footsteps and voices have been heard and a man in a khaki uniform, believed to be Wall, has been reported.  Some even believe that the infamous Moundsville Shadow Man may even be Wall!

Tour Notes from Paranormal
Afterlife with No Parole: The Haunted History of the West Virginia Penitentiary, by Sherri Brake
Associated Press article, October 9, 1979

Newspaper article on RD's Death
This article appeared October 9, 1979 in Huntington's Herald-Dispatch:

Associated Press
Moundsville, W.Va. -- One inmate was stabbed to death and, in a separate fight, three others were injured at the West Virginia penitentiary yesterday, corrections officials said.

Two of the injured inmates--Boyd Tomlin and Dale Eugene McCoy--are from Cabell County.

The three inmates were among four who were fighting in the morning, McCoy said.  He described the incident as "a major disturbance-a big scuffle."  He said it was not a riot.

The fight followed a weekend investigation of thefts at the prison, McCoy said.

Earlier in the morning, inmate R.D. Walls, 57, was stabbed to death in the maintenance area of the northern section of the prison, according to prison Superintendent Richard Mohn.  He was serving a life sentence on a rape conviction from Logan County.  No one has been arrested in the stabbing, officials said.

"We can find no connection between the incidents," McCoy said.  State police were called to investigate, McCoy said. Tomlin, 26, was serving a five to 18 years on a murder conviction, prison officials said.  McCoy, 24, was serving a life sentence on a murder conviction. The third injured prisoner, Carl Echard, 33, was serving a life sentence on an armed robbery conviction from Wood County.

Tomlin was listed at Reynolds Memorial Hospital in fair condition and the other two were listed in good condition. A fourth inmate involved in the fight, Rudolph Green, was put in a segregated discipline area after the fight, prison officials said. A piece of pipe and a wrench were found in the area where the fight took place, Mohn said. Authorities closed off Jefferson Avenue in front of the prison for a time and the city fire department was put on alert.