Sheriff Osborne Bell

Sheriff Osborne Bell

Marshall County Sheriff's Department, Mississippi

End of Watch Wednesday, May 7, 1986

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Osborne Bell

Sheriff Osborne Bell was shot and killed while assisting a deputy arrest a suspect on a drug-related charge. The deputy had stopped to investigate a car parked 500 feet south of Jamison road on Highway 309. When Sheriff Bell arrived a struggle resulted with the driver when they noticed drug paraphernalia in the car. The suspect shot Sheriff Bell in the face. The deputy returned fire wounding the suspect. Sheriff Bell died while en-route to a hospital in Tennessee.

The suspect was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death. His conviction was overturned and he was tried a second time and sentenced to life with the possibility of parole. He was denied parole for the fifth time in 2011.

Sheriff Bell had served in law enforcement for 20 years. He had been the Marshall County Sheriff for six years. He was Mississippi's first black coroner before being elected sheriff. He was survived by his wife and four children.


  • Age 50
  • Tour 20 years
  • Badge M-1

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun; .22 caliber
  • Offender Sentenced to life

arrest, officer assistance

Most Recent Reflection

View all 29 Reflections

As a child who grew up in Holly Springs, I and so many others looked up to Sheriff Bell. His serving as Coroner and Sheriff was a source of pride to everyone in the Black community in this small Mississippi town that was just coming out of Jim Crow. His death left all of us numb, shocked, and devastated. I pray that his murderer never ever sees the light of day.

Maurice Moody
FL Department of Hlt. in Escambia County and a son of Holly Springs

January 11, 2022

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