Incident DetailsCause of Death:
Former Sheriff Clyde Nichols was shot and killed as he was leaving services at the Salem United Methodist Church in Salem.
As he, his wife and two teenage daughters were approaching their vehicle parked on East Market Street, a male subject shot former Sheriff Nichols once in the abdomen and twice in the neck with an automatic revolver. He was pronounced dead at Washington County Memorial Hospital in Salem.
An Indiana State Police sergeant, who had also attended the services, heard the gunfire and arrested the 51-year-old suspect. He was later convicted of murder in a change of venue to Bartholomew County and sentenced to 60 years in prison where he died in 1994.
The apparent motive was a grudge held by the suspect who blamed police and the courts for some of his property being sold at a tax sale several years earlier.
Former Sheriff Nichols, a Republican from Salem, began his career as a deputy for one year before being elected to office in 1966 and 1970 to serve two, four-year terms, later serving as captain for another 6½ years until mid-1981.
He was survived by his wife, son, two daughters, brother, four sisters and mother.