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ODMP Remembers...

Constable William M. Pittsylvania County Constable's Office, Virginia


William M. "Will" Coward

Pittsylvania County Constable's Office, Virginia

End of Watch: Sunday, May 28, 1939

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 44

Tour: Not available

Badge # Not available

Cause: Gunfire

Weapon: Officer's handgun

Offender: Executed in 1939

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Constable Will Coward was shot and killed with his own service weapon while arresting a man creating a disturbance at a church on Route 57, near Chatham.

As Constable Coward made the arrest, two other men walked up behind him. One of the men grabbed Constable Coward's revolver from its holster and then handed it to the second man. The second man then shot Constable Coward in the back. The man then shot him four more times in the back as he laid on the ground. Constable Coward's 12-year-old son witnessed the murder.

The suspect fled the scene but was arrested the following day at his father's home. He was convicted of murdering the officer and sentenced to death. He was executed in the electric chair on December 15th, 1939. The accomplice was sentenced to 20 years.

Constable Coward was survived by his two sons.

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Time may have passed but you are not forgotten. I believe as long as someone remembers you or speaks your name, you are still with us.
Thank you for your heroism.
GOD Bless

Detention Officer A.Zambito
May 28, 2015


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