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Sheriff Dwight B. Stephens | Luna County Sheriff's Department, New Mexico Luna County Sheriff's Department, New Mexico


Dwight B. Stephens

Luna County Sheriff's Department, New Mexico

End of Watch: Friday, February 25, 1916

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 43

Tour: 5 years

Badge # Not available

Cause: Gunfire

Incident Date: Not available

Weapon: Gun; Unknown type

Offender: Shot and killed

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Sheriff Dwight Stephens was shot and killed while attempting to apprehend a gang of escaped prisoners. On Sunday, February 20, 1916, three prisoners in the Luna County jail managed to overcome the jailer and organize an escape. Two other prisoners joined their gang, and they fled from Luna.

Sheriff Stephens assembled a six-man posse in pursuit of the five escapees. The posse included two Deputy Sheriffs and the Deming town Marshal. As the posse came upon the escapees, a gunfight ensued. Sheriff Stephens was killed instantly in the first exchange of shots. One suspect was killed and another wounded and apprehended before the remaining three made their escape.

One suspect was apprehended the following day, another three days later, and the final suspect was apprehended on August 26 in Reno, Nevada. All four living suspects were tried for the murder of Sheriff Stephens. Two were convicted and sentenced to death, and one was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. The fourth suspect was acquitted but received a 20-year sentence for the murder that he was originally being held for.

Sheriff Stephens was survived by his wife and four children.

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Your heroism and service is honored today, the 06th anniversary of your death. Your memory lives and you continue to inspire. Thank you for your service. My cherished son Larry Lasater was a fellow police officer murdered in the line of duty on April 24, 2005 while serving as a Pittsburg, CA police officer.

Rest In Peace.

Phyllis Loya
Mom of fallen California Officer Larry Lasater, Pittsburg PD, eow 4/24/05
February 25, 2012


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