Killed - October 23, 1866
Deputy Sheriff Martin J. Roohan was a large powerful man. Even at the age of 63 years he displayed immense strength. Convicted murder Felipe Hernandez was just the opposite of Deputy Roohan. Standing 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighing only 150 pounds soaking wet, he was said to posses the strength and agility of a tiger. Hernandez was convicted of murdering Juan Bee, the son of early California pioneer and Alcalde of San Jose, Henry Bee.
Hernandez was set to be executed by hanging in only a few days when he developed his plan to escape. October 23, 1866, at 3:00 o'clock PM, following a daily routine, Deputy Roohan used an inmate to place food in an inmates cell. The deputy opened Felipe's cell door, allowing the inmate trustee into the cell. Hernandez who somehow had freed his hands from the shackles, pushed the inmate trustee aside and attacked the surprised deputy. Hernandez seized Roohan around the body, grabbing the knife the jailer wore in his belt. Roohan also wore a pistol in his front belt, but with the death hug Hernandez had on him, Roohan wasn't able to reach his gun. Using his free hand, Hernandez slashed the deputy across the neck. This brought the deputy to his knees. Struggling to get to his feet, Roohan weakened from the blows, and collapsed to the floor. Hernandez stabbed him to the heart and lungs, killing him almost instantly.
Knowing that the next deputy's shift didn't start until the following morning, Hernandez freely roamed the jail. Taking the keys from his cell door, he unlocked another cell. Felipe threw the trembling inmate trustee into the call while freeing a Chileno who had been arrested for stabbing a man at Almaden. For the next few hours the two prisoners ransacked the jail's office, taking two revolvers and the $800, Deputy Roohan was known to have had in his position. The desperado's waited until dark to make their escape.
Early Friday morning Deputy Chapman arrived to start his shift. Unable to open the jail door, Chapman found Sheriff Kennedy and reported the situation. Upon their grizzly discovery, Sheriff Kennedy exhausted posse after posse in his relentless search for the escaped convicts. He even posted a $1000 reward for their capture.
Nothing was heard of Hernandez until June 4, 1863 when the San Jose Mercury reported that Hernandez had been shot by one of his companions during a dispute near an old mine along the Colorado River. Hernandez had had a falling out with one of his gang members, he drew his revolver and tried to shoot the fellow desperado. When his gun miss fired, the other gunman fired and shot him dead.
Sources:The San Jose Mercury, October 30, 1862 & June 4, 1863