Raymond Lee (Cadillac) Smith, one of Washington's most notorious criminals who was among eight men who escaped from the old D.C. jail in 1972 in the biggest breakout in that institution's history, was found stabbed to death Monday night in the federal prison in Marion, Ill.

Smith, 37, was in the maximum security unit of the Illinois prison, serving a 6-to-23-year sentence on federal charges of assault with a deadly weapon, attempted kidnaping, attempted robbery and the escape from the jail here, according to Dean Leech, a spokesman for the prison at Marion.

Leech said Smith was found outside his cell, with his body bearing several stab wounds. An FBI spokesman in Springfield, Ill., said two inmates, whose names were not released, are suspects in the stabbing. Smith was killed with a makeshift knife or "prison shank or better described as a long piece of steel," the spokesman said.

A decade ago, Smith was a prominent figure with a reputation for violence in the world of pimps, drug pushers, gamblers and hired killers, according to police accounts.

In April and May 1972, he was charged with fatally shooting a suspected narcotics dealer, shooting and critically wounding a second man in an alley off T Street NW, kidnaping and robbing a numbers operator and shooting to death a man in front of several witnesses in a carryout restaurant. The murder charge involving the suspected narcotics dealer was dropped for lack of evidence.

In June 1972 Smith was charged with slaying a man at a party in Big Stone Gap, Va. He was later arrested at machine-gun point by half a dozen policemen in Kingsport, Tenn. Smith was convicted of second-degree murder in that shooting.

Smith is the fourth of the eight men who escaped the D.C. jail to die a violent death. All eight either were recaptured or killed shortly after the escape. The surviving four all are believed to be in federal or state penitentiaries. The eight escaped on Oct. 2, 1972, breaking out a skylight window and then sliding down a firehose while other inmates watched a televised Monday night football game.

Smith was captured here three weeks after the escape. Mace Brown was gunned down by New York City police seven months later during a bank robbery attempt in Harlem. The body of one of the escapees, Howard B. Hayes, was found in a shallow grave in a small town in Florida a few weeks after the escape. Two other escapees, George Awkard and Thomas C. Reed, were captured in Florida and held in connection with his slaying, but the disposition of that case could not be determined immediately.

Awkard and Reed are serving terms in federal prisons for first-degree murder in the slaying of another escapee, Carl Bagley, whose body was found in a wooded area in Prince George's County, according to Assistant U. S. Attorney E. Lawrence Barcella Jr.

A seventh man, Roland C. (Roach) Henry, is believed to be in Leavenworth, Barcella said, while the eighth, Nathaniel McQueen, is in Lorton Reformatory.