Billy Graham’s casket made by convicted murderer in Angola Prison

(BGEA video screengrab)

By Mark Ellis, Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News ServiceInmate works on Billy Grahams casket smaller

ANGOLA, LA (ANS – March 2, 2018) — The body of the legendary evangelist, Billy Graham, was laid to rest in a coffin made by a convicted murderer nicknamed “Grasshopper” at Angola State Penitentiary in Angola, Louisiana, offering a final statement about humility from a man who influenced the most powerful leaders in the world.

“Many people have asked me about my father’s casket,” Franklin stated in his Twitter feed, accompanying a video showing the casket being made. “My son Roy shares the story and we have footage of the casket being handmade by a convicted murderer named ‘Gangola state penitentiary smallerrasshopper’ at Angola Prison in Louisiana.”

Franklin and Roy visited the prison to attend a rodeo and saw the caskets being made. “He (Franklin) came back and told my grandmother (Ruth) he had bought her a gift. He bought her a casket made by prisoners and my grandmother thought it was outstanding,” Roy recounted in the video.

“The prisoners are people who need forgiveness too and that’s what my grandmother loved about it, that we all need forgiveness,” Roy explained.

Prisoner displays the cross smallerThe inmate who built the evangelist’s casket saw it as a labor of love. “I’ve been at Angola for 35 years,” the man nicknamed Grasshopper said. “I build every casket just like I would want mine built.”

Another prisoner in the carpenter shop helping with the project saw a powerful symbol in the evangelist’s final resting place. “The Rev. Graham has always preached on humility in order to grow in Christ’s likeness,” he noted. “We must humble ourselves…I think this is his final statement to that effect, that he will be buried in a coffin made by the poor, by prisoners.”

“The cross has the ultimate significance. That’s where the ultimate sacrifice was made for mankind,” he added.

Photo captions: 1) Inmate works on Graham’s casket. 2) Angola State Penitentiary. 3) Prisoner displays the cross that will adorn the top of Graham’s casket (screengrab BGEA video). 4) Mark Ellis.


Mark EllisAbout the writer: Mark Ellis is Senior Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service (, and is also the founder of, a website that shares testimonies and videos from the church around the world to build interest and involvement in world missions. Previously, Mark co-hosted a TV show called “Windows on the World” with ANS Founder, Dan Wooding, aired on the Holy Spirit Broadcasting Network (, which is now co-hosted by Dr. Garry Ansdell, Senior Pastor of Hosanna Christian Fellowship in Bellflower, California. 

** You may republish this, or any of our ANS stories, with attribution to the ASSIST News Service ( Please also tell your friends and colleagues that they can have a complimentary subscription to our news service by signing up there.