Constable William Larkin Stapleton

Constable William Larkin Stapleton

Lincoln County Constable's Office, Kentucky

End of Watch Saturday, May 20, 1939

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William Larkin Stapleton

Constable Larkin Stapleton was shot and killed when he attempted to intervene in a domestic disturbance on Main Street in Crab Orchard, Kentucky.

A married couple was in town shopping when the husband began cursing his wife because she allowed her brother to take the keys to their car. Constable Larkin attempted to calm the man and then threatened to arrest him as became more irate. During the ensuing argument the woman, who was holding their 3-month-old child in her arms, pulled the man's revolver from his pocket and pointed it at Constable Stapleton.

The woman told a deputy constable who was with Constable Stapleton could arrest the husband but Constable Stapleton could not. When the deputy constable re-entered his store to obtain his own gun the woman shot Constable Stapleton in the chest. The husband then took Constable Stapleton's gun and shot him a second time before fleeing. The woman was arrested moments later. The man was arrested hiding in a cave a short time later by a posse.

The man was later sentenced to life in prison and the woman was sentenced to two years in prison.

Constable Stapleton had served in law enforcement for several years but had been appointed as constable only a few months prior to his murder. He was survived by his wife and daughter.


  • Age 63
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun; .38 caliber
  • Offender Convicted


Most Recent Reflection

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Constable Stapleton,
On today, the 80th anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for the citizens of Lincoln.

BPA Mike Casey
United States Border Patrol
El Paso Station

May 20, 2019

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