An inmate serving a life sentence for killing a southwest Missouri sheriff more than 30 years ago will remain in prison.

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, for the July 1987 killing of Cedar County Sheriff Charles LaRew.

Missouri’s Probation and Parole Board held an October hearing for Debler, and the Board has denied his parole.

Current Cedar County Sheriff James “Jim Bob” McCrary tells Missourinet the Board made the right decision.

“I’d also like to thank everybody that wrote to the parole board and contacted the parole board regarding this,” McCrary says. “I appreciate that.”

McCrary says he personally delivered about six letters to the board.

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

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

Sheriff McCrary made the three-hour drive from Stockton to the Jefferson City Correctional Center (JCCC) in October, to urge the parole board to keep Debler behind bars.

“He was involved in murdering our sheriff back in 1987, and as far as I’m concerned, I’ve, you know, I’ve never forgiven him and I never will. And I believe he’s where he needs to be,” says McCrary.

McCrary says there are “a lot” of Cedar County residents who were friends with Sheriff LaRew, who still remember the 1987 incident.

Missouri Department of Corrections (DOC) spokeswoman Karen Pojmann tells Missourinet Debler’s next parole hearing is scheduled for October 2020.

Debler is currently incarcerated at the maximum-security JCCC.


Click here to listen to the full interview between Missourinet’s Brian Hauswirth and Cedar County Sheriff James “Jim Bob” McCrary, which was recorded on December 18, 2017: