Officer William Murphy

Officer William Murphy

Mobile Police Department, Alabama

End of Watch Friday, October 18, 1929

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William Murphy

Officer William Murphy was shot and killed at approximately 0200 hours after stopping a speeding vehicle on Broad Street near Conti Street. The vehicle was later found in Picayune, Mississippi, and turned out to be stolen. Three weeks later a tip led to the arrest of the 23-year-old gunman.

The suspect was convicted of murder and sentenced to death. He was granted a new trial and again sentenced to death. He was granted a third trial and this time was sentenced to life on April 6, 1931. He was paroled on February 8, 1946.

Officer Murphy was survived by his wife and three daughters.


  • Age 30
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Gun; Unknown type
  • Offender Paroled in 1946

traffic stop

Most Recent Reflection

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Motorcycle officer, beat cop killed in the line of duty more than 90 years ago finally get grave markers

Posted on Oct. 16, 2020

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — In times of tragedy we often say “we will never forget” but sometimes we actually do forget. That was the case for nearly a century after two Mobile officers were killed in the line of duty.

Today that is all changing.

Oct. 18, 1929, Officer WF “Happy” Murphy, a motorcycle officer stopped, a speeding car on Broad Street near Conti. You’ve heard it before, there is no such thing as a routine traffic stop. Even in 1929, being an officer in Mobile was a dangerous job. It would be Murphy’s last traffic stop. He was shot and killed by the occupants of the stolen car. He left behind a wife and three children.

That was far from the first loss for the Mobile Police Department. Just three years earlier, Officer Christopher Dean was shot and killed while checking on four suspicious men in his beat. He never had the chance to draw his own weapon.

They are just two of Mobile’s finest who have fallen protecting citizens. Fallen, and for decades, in a way, forgotten. 100 years after Mobile had its first officer killed in the line of duty, our fallen heroes are honored by the entire town, showing they back the blue. These two men, however, didn’t even get a proper grave marker. Friday, more than 90 years after they laid down their lives for their city, that wrong has been righted. Their names, Happy Murphy, Christopher Dean, now forever etched in stone and once again on the minds and in the hearts of the citizens of the city they served.

Murphy’s killer was sentenced to life but was paroled after 15 years. Dean’s killer was sentenced to death.

Retired Police Officer

October 17, 2020

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