|Birth: ||Aug. 13, 1947|
|Death: ||Apr. 15, 1975|
Bensalem, Pa. Police Officer
Badge No. 32
He was known as Jimmy by his family and friends, grew up in Philadelphia and was a graduate of Father Judge High School. He then went on to become a marine and served two tours of duty in Vietnam. He volunteered for his second tour because he liked the action and he believed in the cause. Jimmy then went on to marry his wife, Sandy, and together they had a daughter, Patti, who only knew her father as an infant. Jimmy's younger brother, Jack, described his brother as outgoing, dependable, and someone you could always count on. Jack said he always looked up to Jimmy as his older brother, and that people naturally gravitated toward Jimmy because of his personality.
Jimmy served as a patrolman and K-9 handler with his partner, Shep. Jimmy was described as a "COPS COP." Fellow officers Tony Rihl and Don Kueny said this of Jimmy, "he never dodged a call and was someone who always had your back – no matter what!"
Ptl. Armstrong, 28, was killed on April 15, 1975 in Bensalem Pa. while on a felony traffic stop of armed robbery suspect off Route 13 in an industrial park near Woodhaven Road, Bensalem Township, and his K-9 dog was also shot by the suspect.
At 11:00 a.m. he stopped a male Joseph Hennessey after he overheard an armed robbery description from Bristol Township at a gas station fifteen minutes earlier. He stopped the male in the Colorcraft Company parking lot.
Hennessey was driving a Chevrolet station wagon that fit the general description of the robbery suspect. During the interaction with Officer Armstrong, Hennessey disarmed him and chased him through a parking lot and shot him five times, three times in the chest, once in the mouth & once in the head as the officer returned to his car to radio for help.
Hennessey also shot K-9-Shep who was in the backseat of the patrol car with the window only partway down. Shep could not get out but did survive and after some time returned for duty.
Hennessey fled jurisdiction to Philadelphia with a female and admitted to her he committed the robbery and murdered Officer Armstrong and was arrested. The female with him, Sheila Carr, witnessed Hennessey heavily intoxicated from drugs and/ or alcohol in the days before and after the murder. Officer Armstrong's tie tack was found under Hennessey's car seat. At the time of his death, he left behind his wife and one year old daughter Sandra and Patti.
After a 22-day manhunt, Hennessey was arrested on May 7, 1975. He was represented by Joseph Santaguida, Esquire. Thereafter, Ms. Carr turned herself in and was charged with harboring a fugitive and other related charges. Mr. Santaguida also represented Ms. Carr, in this separate but related criminal action.
On September 30, 1975, following a trial, a jury found Hennessey guilty of 1st degree murder of Bensalem Township Police Officer James Armstrong. The following day the jury sentenced Hennessey to life in prison.
Several legal motions were filed by the defense up until 1998. All were unsuccessful.
3. Social Security Death Index
Plot: Sec 15, Range 23, Lot 59, Grave
GPS (lat/lon): 40.1206, -74.92214
Created by: Researcher
Record added: Apr 03, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 50616604