An October parole hearing has been scheduled for a prisoner who was convicted of the 1987 killing of a southwest Missouri sheriff.

Convicted murderer Brent Debler is incarcerated at the Jefferson City Correctional Center (2017 photo courtesy of the Missouri Department of Corrections)

50-year-old Brent Debler is serving a life sentence for second degree murder, and is incarcerated at the maximum-security Jefferson City Correctional Center (JCCC).

Brent Debler and his brother Shelby were convicted of the July 26, 1987 murder of Cedar County Sheriff Charles LaRew.

Current Cedar County Sheriff James “Jim Bob” McCrary tells Missourinet he knew LaRew.

“He and I were friends, talked to him occasionally when I saw him working on the street and he was a good guy and didn’t deserve this, and I don’t think these guys need to be out on the street again,” McCrary says.

LaRew was shot in the head and killed by a .30 caliber rifle that discharged from a booby-trap device. LaRew was investigating a reported burglary near Caplinger Mills, when he was killed.

Shelby Debler was originally sentenced to death, but that death sentence was overturned and he is serving life. Shelby Debler, who is not eligible for parole, is also an inmate at JCCC.

Sheriff McCrary says he’ll attend the fall parole hearing at JCCC. Missourinet asked McCrary what he’d say to Brent Debler or to the Parole Board.

“You know, I’d basically tell them (Parole Board members) that he (Debler) took the life of a good man and he doesn’t deserve to be turned loose,” says McCrary.

McCrary says Debler is “where he needs to be”, adding that Debler is dangerous.

Caplinger Mills is north of Stockton. Cedar County is about 55 miles northwest of Springfield.

Missouri Department of Corrections (DOC) spokesman David Owen says an October parole hearing is scheduled for Brent Debler. Owen says a specific parole hearing date has not been set yet.

Owen notes the Parole Board normally takes four to six weeks to make a decision.

Sheriff McCrary was unaware of the parole hearing, until Missourinet called him for comment. McCrary says he and a Cedar County deputy who worked under LaRew will attend the hearing.

The Missouri Law Enforcement Memorial website says Mr. LaRew served more than 13 years with the Cedar County Sheriff’s Department, starting as a dispatcher and then deputy sheriff. LaRew was elected Cedar County Sheriff in 1984. He died at the age of 35.

That website also notes that Cedar County Deputy Sheriff Matthew Chism was shot to death in the line of duty in 2014 in El Dorado Springs.


Click here to listen to Missourinet news director Brian Hauswirth’s full four-minute interview with Cedar County Sheriff James “Jim Bob” McCrary, which was recorded on July 14, 2017: