Sheriff James Virgil Griner

Sheriff James Virgil Griner

Ben Hill County Sheriff's Office, Georgia

End of Watch Thursday, August 30, 1951

James Virgil Griner

Sheriff Griner and Jailer John Smith were shot and killed after they stopped a vehicle to search for whiskey. The suspect opened fire on both men, killing Jailer Smith and mortally wounding Sheriff Griner. The sheriff was transported to an Atlanta hospital where he succumbed to his wounds four days later.

After hiding in a south Georgia swamp for three weeks, the suspect surrendered to a Georgia state trooper. On April 23, 1952, he was convicted of two counts of murder and sentenced to life. He died in prison April 3, 1959.


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

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Incident Date Sunday, August 26, 1951
  • Weapon Gun; Unknown type
  • Offender Died in prison

Most Recent Reflection

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Uncle Virgil was one the most generous and kind men ever. His wife, Aunt Ruth, was not only generous but a woman of incredible wisdom and strength. Very proud of them both. And, I cherish memories of days past.

Campbell Patterson

January 8, 2017

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