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Detective William Thomas Whitehead | Jacksonville Police Department, North Carolina Jacksonville Police Department, North Carolina


William Thomas Whitehead

Jacksonville Police Department, North Carolina

End of Watch: Thursday, May 28, 1981

Bio & Incident Details

Age: Not available

Tour: 5 years

Badge # Not available

Military veteran

Cause: Assault

Weapon: Person

Offender: Sentenced to life

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Detective William Whitehead drowned after being beaten unconscious, handcuffed, and pushed into a river by two suspects.

Detective Whitehead was questioning the two men outside of a bar on suspicion of sexually assaulting a juvenile female. The two men attacked him and handcuffed him behind the back with his own handcuffs. They then threw him into the New River, under the Old Bridge at, Court Street. A medical examination determined that Detective Whitehead was alive when he was thrown into the river.

Both suspects were apprehended and charged with murder.

One of the suspects was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. He was denied parole in January 2015. The other suspect was convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to 15 years. He was paroled September 7th, 1988.

Detective Whitehead was a U.S. Marine Corps veteran of the Vietnam War and had served with the Jacksonville Police Department for five years. He was survived by his wife.

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Most Recent Reflection

Bill, you are always thought of and missed. There are a couple of Memorial sites where you and Terry Lanier are remembered and I visit those and reflect on your service to the community and our friendship. One of your killers is still in prison and we always send opposition to his release each parole hearing. Another comes up December 1, 2016. Asking all to send a letter in again. The murder of an officer should automatically be either death or prison with no chance of parole. You are forever in our hearts.

Jean Britt
Jacksonville Police Department
September 21, 2016


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