Pontiac Assistant Warden for Operations Virdeen Willis, 45, was shot once in the neck and killed around 9:45 p.m. June 30, 1985 as he left Maggie’s Shamrock Lounge, 1418 E. 67th St., Chicago, with a cousin. Gang member and three time murderer Steven Smith, 38 at the time, was convicted of Willis’ murder and awaits execution. Willis was born in Luxora, Arkansas, and moved to Illinois in 1962. He joined the department as a correctional officer at Joliet in October 1962 but left in June 1966. A second stint with IDOC began in July 1970 when he returned to Joliet as an officer. After transferring to Stateville, he rose through the ranks to become Chief of security in November, 1982.
Willis was named A/W Operations at Pontiac in November 1983. He was survived by his mother.