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Constable Darwin P. Rice | Bell County Constable's Office - Precinct 6, Texas Bell County Constable's Office - Precinct 6, Texas

Constable

Darwin P. Rice

Bell County Constable's Office - Precinct 6, Texas

End of Watch: Friday, August 6, 1886

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 26

Tour: 1 year, 8 months

Badge # Not available

Cause: Gunfire

Incident Date: 8/5/1886

Weapon: Rifle

Offender: Convicted but case overturned on appeal

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Constable Darwin Rice was sent to seize a yoke of oxen under a writ of attachment from Rufus W. Ledbetter in Eddy on the Bell-Falls county line. Constable Rice did not anticipate trouble despite Ledbetter’s prior threats to kill the constable if he tried to arrest him or seize the oxen. Ledbetter was lying under his plow making a repair when Constable Rice approached and tied his horse to the plow. The constable had left his pistol in the saddlebags on his horse. Ledbetter started swearing and threatening to kill the constable. Ledbetter grabbed his .56 caliber rifle and shot Rice in the arm with the bullet passing into his right side. Rice grabbed the rifle and wrestled it away from the suspect. Several witnesses picked up the constable and took him to a hay stack to rest. Ledbetter returned with a knife and demanded his rifle. One of the witnesses threw the rifle in the field and fled. Ledbetter fired at him and missed. Constable Rice lingered until 9:00 p.m. the next night when he died.

Rufus W. Ledbetter was convicted and sentenced to death but he appealed and had the case reversed and remanded because the constable was outside Bell County by 200 yards. A second trial was held and Ledbetter was tried and convicted and sentenced to life in prison but he appealed again and the case was reversed and remanded because of improper jury instruction. It is unknown if Ledbetter was ever formally convicted of the murder.

Rice is buried at the Moffat Cemetery in Bell County. He was only 26 years old. Newspaper accounts indicate that Rice may have also been a Bell County deputy sheriff.

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Rest in Peace Constable Darwin P. Rice. Thank You for your Service and Sacrifice protecting the citizens of The Great State of Texas.

I Pray for Peace for your Family, Friends and Co-Workers. I also Pray that the scum who murdered you is burning in hell as I type this reflection. I pray that the hounds of hell are ripping his soul apart.

Amen.

Senior Special Agent B.L. Sherwood (Ret)
Port Terminal Railroad Police Houston, TX
August 7, 2016

 

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