|Birth: ||Oct. 24, 1890|
|Death: ||Apr. 15, 1915|
Killed in the line of duty.
William Clinton Harless was born in the Spring, Texas, area in October of 1890. He lived in that area most of his life. Deputy Harless became a Deputy Sheriff under Harris County Sheriff Frank Hammond. He also served as the resident Constable for that area. Deputy Harless was known as the biggest peace officer in the state, standing 6 feet 6 inches tall and weighing 350 pounds. He patrolled the Spring area on horseback.
Deputy Harless went to the residence of Levi Jackson, Wednesday night, April 14, 1915, to serve a burglary warrant out of Conroe, Texas on a wanted suspect by the name of Louis Utley. Upon riding up to the Jackson residence on horseback, suspect Utley was sitting on the porch with Levi Jackson. Deputy Harless placed the suspect under arrest for the burglary warrant. The suspect asked Deputy Harless if he could go inside and get his coat. He picked up a rifle and aimed it out of the front window at Deputy Harless who was sitting on his horse. Utley fired the rifle and the bullet struck Deputy Harless in the neck. Deputy Harless fell from his horse. Utley ran out of the back door of the house and fled the scene.
The witnesses quickly attended to Deputy Harless. He was taken to Houston on the I. and G. N. train to a Houston infirmary. The attending physicians examined Deputy Harless and x-rays revealed that the bullet entered his neck on the left side and shattered his vertebrae, lodging on the right side. Deputy Harless was not able to undergo the operation to remove the bullet. The attending physician said there was no chance of recovery.
A posse was organized by Sheriff Frank Hammond to search for the fleeing suspect. Deputy Sheriffs Milam and Robinson, along with Superintendent Hart of the Convict Camp #1 and his bloodhounds searched the Spring Creek bottoms, but the hounds lost the suspect's scent after two hours. Deputy Harless died from his gunshot wound at 2:45 p.m. on Thursday, April 15, 1915, in the Baptist Sanitarium.
Sheriff Foreman of Polk County arrested Utley on Saturday morning, April 17, 1915, in Livingston, Texas. Suspect Utley later attempted suicide while in the Polk County Jail. Sheriff Hammond of Harris County sent Deputy Ed Stoermer and an unidentified man from Humble to Livingston to identify the Suspect. Utley was identified and returned to Houston by Deputy Stoermer.
A murder charge was filed on Utley for the shooting death of Deputy Harless. The Grand Jury met and returned an indictment against Utley. The trial was set for a later date due to the over-crowded docket for the District Court in Houston.
The trial of suspect Louis Utley was held in the Criminal District Court in Houston, Texas, on Friday, June 4, 1915. Utley Was found guilty of the offense of murder in the shooting death of Deputy Harless. He was executed by legal hanging on February 01, 1916.
His parents were F.G. Harless and Amanda Love Harless.
Note: His burial was in Spring, Texas. Name of cemetery was unavailable.
Created by: D. Sjolander
Record added: Jun 16, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 53753190