Accused State Police Killer Dead

Ferguson Hangs Self in Jail


A Ritchie County man accused of the first-degree murder of a police officer took his own life while housed as a prisoner in the Ritchie County Jail.

Dennis Ray Ferguson, 68, of White Oak Community, Pullman, apparently hung himself with a section of his bed sheet early Sunday morning, Sept. 12th.

Ferguson, who was awaiting trial for the first-degree murder of WV State Police Trooper Larry G. Hacker, is thought to have planned his own execution some time last week. According to Sgt. G. B. Hissom, Ferguson had reportedly mailed his sister a copy of his last will and testament which she received on Saturday, Sept. 11th.

Last seen by Jailer John Wioland at 6:00 a.m. on Sunday, Ferguson was served breakfast as usual, although he reportedly did not eat. Noting that Ferguson was usually one of the first inmates to return his tray following breakfast, Wioland became alarmed and went into the cellblock to investigate. Upon entering Ferguson's cell, Wioland noticed the untouched tray and a made bed as if the prisoner was still sleeping. Investigating further Wioland found blankets and plastic bottles stuffed between the covers to simulate the shape of a sleeping person. At this time, the Jailer proceeded into Ferguson's bathroom and found him hung from the shower head.

The Jailer, who is a retired New Jersey State Policeman, immediately notified Sgt. Hissom who arrived at the jail at about 7:30 a.m.

Estimating death to have occurred about 7:00, the officials made no attempt to resuscitate the inmate, and shortly thereafter notified the County Coroner.

Officials at the Jail reported that Ferguson gave no prior indication to them of his plans for suicide. "He always kept to himself and didn't socialize," said Sgt. Hissom.

The case has now been turned over to the Harrisville Detachment of the WV State Police for investigation.
Dennis Ferguson, who was described by his neighbors as an eccentric, has remained in the county
jail since his arrest on Apr. 8th.

On the evening of Apr. 8th, police officers were summoned to the Ferguson residence after receiving a complaint from a neighbor. Jack Langford.

Although apparently not the first altercation between Ferguson and the Langford family, this dispute ended in gunfire when several law enforcement officials arrived at the scene.

As one of the first officers on the scene, Trooper Hacker began the investigation and received a fatal gunshot wound to the abdomen while searching the Ferguson premises. 

eputy Hissom, who was later cited for heroism, dragged Hacker to safety while he waited medical attention to arrive for the wounded trooper.

Hacker, who was flown by medical helicopter to Camden-Clark Memorial Hospital, Parkersburg, later died as a result of his injuries.

Ferguson was apprehended by officials a short time later after they surrounded his position on a wooded hilltop near his residence.

After entering a plea of not guilty at the preliminary hearing, Ferguson was granted a change of venue, and his case was scheduled to be heard by the presiding judge in Wetzel County this fall.