Officer Sherry was assigned to the vice squad in Cleveland’s Sixth Precinct. On July 3, 1980, Sherry had completed his tour and was on his way home when he noticed suspicious activity. Sherry pulled up in his unmarked unit and was approached by two young males.
James Porter pulled a.32 caliber handgun and fired three shots into Officer Sherry’s neck at point-blank range. The two men were joined by two other young males. The four of them dragged Sherry from the patrol unit. The men stole Sherry’s wallet, badge, and some personal items. They fled the scene, leaving him to die alone in the street.
Steve Watson, a military veteran and Army combat medic, was in the vicinity when he heard the shots fired. He decided to investigate the source. He found Sherry in the street. At Porter’s trial, Watson stated, “I tried to clear his air passage. I felt his pulse. It went from low to just out. He was already gone.” The coroner determined the Officer Sherry did not die instantly. He choked on his own blood.”
Through a confidential informant and fingerprint evidence obtained at the crime scene, investigators identified four individuals in Sherry’s murder: Marvin Edmonds, Charles Jenkins, Tyrone Sweeney, and James Porter. With the exception of Porter, the three were willing to speak freely with investigators. Jenkins, Sweeney, and Edmonds consistently identified Porter as the shooter.
Porter refused to take the witness stand. He showed no remorse and refused to accept responsibility for his own behavior. The jury returned with a guilty verdict, after deliberating for two hours. Porter was convicted of aggravated burglary and aggravated murder and received a sentence of 27 years to life in prison. At sentencing, Judge Daniel O Corrigan said he wished he could have sentenced Porter to death. Since the death penalty was not an option at that time the judge said “Life in prison would have to do.”
Officer Sherry joined the Cleveland Police Department in 1973, he served the community with pride and distinction. He and his partner, Phillip Smith, were awarded the Medal of Valor for rescuing a trapped motorist from a burning vehicle merely seconds before it exploded. He joined the vice unit in 1978.
Sherry was described as “a policeman’s policeman”. One of his peers stated, “His fellow officers and his boss said he was a good police officer, too, a true telling tribute for a police officer. A policeman’s peers are his most knowledgeable, and therefore, his toughest judges.”
Another tribute to Officer Sherry stated, “He loved three things in this world. Being a devoted husband to his wife Connie, being a dedicated father to his two young children, and being a Cleveland Ohio police officer.”
Officer Sherry is survived by his loving wife and two children: a son, and a daughter who were six and three when their father was so brutally murdered. Due to Porter’s heinous act, the Sherry family has been deprived of a husband and a devoted father; and the City of Cleveland was deprived of one its finest officers. Officer Desmond Sherry will remain forever in the hearts of the community he served. Officer Desmond Sherry, gone but never forgotten.
You may call 614 752-1200 and include the following key points with Cynthia Mausser, Chair, Ohio Parole Board’s office. Please cover the following talking points:
I respectfully request that parole be denied to James Porter, inmate #A162480. This inmate’s violent murder of Police Officer Desmond Sherry in 1980 should preclude any consideration for parole.
On Thursday, July 3, 1980, Officer Sherry, of the Cleveland Police Department, was slain in the line of duty. He was murdered in the discharge of his duties in keeping the citizens of Ohio safe from violent criminals like inmate #A162480.
Officer Sherry left behind a loving wife and two loving children, who were forced to grow up without their father.
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