Sheriff James Lawrence Harber

Sheriff James Lawrence Harber

Izard County Sheriff's Office, Arkansas

End of Watch Tuesday, December 4, 1945

Add to My Heroes

James Lawrence Harber

Sheriff James Harber was shot and killed by a suspect while he and the Melbourne town marshal served a warrant for forging checks. The suspect had somehow slipped out of his handcuffs while being escorted out of his home and tackled Sheriff Harber. During the ensuing struggle the man yelled to his father to grab his shotgun.

The man's wife then drew a revolver and held the marshal at gunpoint. The suspect was able to break away from Sheriff Harber, ran inside and grabbed his shotgun, then returned outside. He ordered the town marshal to leave the area and then shot Sheriff Harber twice at close range, killing him.

The suspect and his wife fled into the hills and remained at large for almost two weeks. He was convicted of Sheriff Harber's murder and sentenced to death. He was later granted a new trial; convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 21 years. On May 3, 1951, he was granted a furlough and released from prison. On February 25, 1953, by order of the governor, the suspect was returned to prison because of a fight he got into at a cafe in Bradford.

Sheriff Harber was survived by his wife and daughter. His wife was sworn in to complete her husband's term of office. She served from December 10, 1945, until December 31, 1946.


  • Age 43
  • Tour 2 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Shotgun
  • Offender Sentenced to 21 years

fraud, warrant service

Most Recent Reflection

View all 7 Reflections

Rest in peace Sheriff Harber.

Rabbi Lewis S. Davis

June 28, 2022

Want even more control of your Reflection? Create a free ODMP account now for these benefits:

  • Quick access to your heroes
  • Reflections published quicker
  • Save a Reflection signature
  • View, edit or delete any Reflection you've left in the past

Create an account for more options, or use this form to leave a Reflection now.