One of the nation’s most dangerous men dies on death row

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Death row inmate Patrick McKenna is escorted into district court under tight security to decide where his death penalty hearing will be held, Saturday, Aug. 3, 1996, in Las Vegas. McKenna is considered one of Nevada’s most dangerous prisoners. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

MYSTERY WIRE The man known to many as Nevada’s most dangerous man has died. Patrick McKenna strangled and killed his cellmate in the Clark County, NV jail in 1979 and had been on death row since 1980. He was 74 years old.

Death row inmate Patrick McKenna sits in Clark County District Court awaiting the decision of the court to move McKenna’s death row hearing to Ely, Nev., Saturday, Aug. 3, 1996, in Las Vegas. The hearing will be held both in Las Vegas and in Ely. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

The Nevada Department of Corrections (NDOC) reports that McKenna, was pronounced dead at Spring Valley Hospital in Las Vegas on Monday, April 19.

McKenna was an inmate at High Desert State Prison, and was sentenced to death for first-degree murder, kidnapping, sexual assault, robbery and use of a deadly weapon.

The state did not release the cause of his death.

In 1979 McKenna masterminded the longest and most intense siege ever seen in Nevada. 

On the morning of August 25, 1979, two inmates inside the city hall jail annex overpowered an officer, seized his key, and got an accomplice to help them steal weapons from the gun locker.

The trio tried to escape wearing guards’ clothes, but detectives stopped them. This was when the standoff began.

An army of police surrounded the jail where inmates tried to negotiate a deal using former KLAS-TV News Director Bob Stoldal as the middleman. Around midnight, the three ringleaders turned on each other and started shooting.

Two of the inmates ended up dead. Patrick McKenna survived and held police at bay for another two days before finally surrendering.

Mystery Wire’s George Knapp sat down with McKenna in death row for an interview. Knapp produced three stories about his interview that originally aired in May 2002 on KLAS-TV in Las Vegas, NV.

George Knapp and his colleagues at KLAS-TV in Las Vegas produced a documentary on McKenna and his crimes. It was called “Emperor of Death Row” and aired on April 28, 2003.

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