Deputy Sheriff William Don Reese

Deputy Sheriff William Don Reese

Dallas County Sheriff's Department, Texas

End of Watch Monday, February 15, 1971

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William Don Reese

Deputy William Reese, Deputy Samuel Infante, and Deputy Arthur Robertson, of the Ellis County Sheriff's Department, were shot and killed after being abducted by two men while conducting a burglary investigation. Their murders became known as the "Trinity River Massacre".

Deputy Reese and Deputy Infante were backing up Deputy Robertson at the home of one of the suspects. The three were abducted, taken to the Trinity River and were shot execution style. Another Ellis County deputy was able to escape and get help. The fifth deputy was shot in the chest but survived.

Both suspects, 24 and 33, were apprehended four days later after the most intensive search in Dallas County history. They later told investigators they wanted to leave Dallas and get away as far as they could but their heroin habit was so bad they needed to stay close to their suppliers. The oldest had spent 18 years of his life in prison for numerous crimes including armed robbery and burglary, A murder charge had been dropped against him recently because witnesses refused or were either to afraid to testify.

The case had wire spread repercussions in Dallas for reasons other than the actual killing.Two persons believed to be informants in the hunt for the two had died. One was shot and killed in Dallas. The other was killed in a oil drilling accident that had indications of foul play.

Both suspects were convicted of murder and sentenced to death. In 1972 their sentences were commuted to life. The youngest was paroled on December 18, 1990. No one was notified of his parole hearing. His parole angered so many state and federal officials that the parole process was changed. The most major change was anyone convicted of capital murder could not be concidered for parole until he had served 35 years. Then in 1995 the suspect was arrested for driving while impaired in Lubbock. For reasons unknown nothing surfaced that he had violated his parole. Thanks to a Dallas jailer, now the Lubbock Police Chief, who was involved with the suspect when the three officers were murdered, notified the proper authorities and had him jailed for violating his parole and had him returned to prison. He died in prison on August 6, 2017. The other suspect died in prison on August 21, 2021.


  • Age Not available
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Gun; Unknown type
  • Offender Apprehended

Most Recent Reflection

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William Don Reese (Donnie) will never be forgotten. He was my brother’s best friend and he still mourns the loss more than 50 years later.

Sandra Harris

March 4, 2022

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