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Historic Texas prison cemetery filling up

Aug. 4, 2012 at 1:55 PM

HUNTSVILLE, Texas, Aug. 4 (UPI) -- A cemetery that has been the final resting place for many Texas criminals for 160 years is filling up and the state must find a new burial site, officials said.

About 3,000 prisoners are buried on 22 acres bordering Sam Houston State University, the Houston Chronicle reported Saturday. Named Joe Hill Cemetery after a former prison captain who led a cleanup of the site in the 1960s, it's the final resting place of many deceased inmates of the state's prisons.

The cemetery is a virtual checklist of some of the state's most infamous murders.

Three of the first five men Texas electrocuted are interred there as are serial killer Kenneth McDuff and Henry Lee Lucas, who confessed to 600 murders he didn't do. Lucas died in prison in 2001 and is in an unmarked grave.

The land was donated to the state in the 1850s, but now it's filling up and much of the remaining land is subject to flooding. The state must find a new cemetery site within two years.

James Jones, the warden who oversees Texas' only prison cemetery, believes land the Department of Corrections owns in Huntsville can be used.

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