[Masthead] Fair ~ 46°F  
High: 75°F ~ Low: 55°F
Friday, May 6, 2016

Dyersburg man charged with first-degree murder

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Willie T. Harris
Dyersburg resident Willie Harris surrenders to Dyersburg police on Thursday morning after a brief stand off.
A Dyersburg man has been charged with first-degree murder after reportedly stabbing his wife early Thursday morning.

Willie T. Harris, 48, was charged Thursday afternoon and is set to be arraigned Friday morning on the murder charges concerning the death of his wife, 55-year-old Joycelyn Harris.

Dyersburg police responded to a call in the early morning hours on Thursday of a possible stabbing of the 55-year-old woman.

DPD Lt. Billy Williams (center) speaks with Sgt. Jim Joyner (l) and Sgt. Dan Wilson at the scene of the reported stabbing of the 55-year-old wife of Willie Harris.
A 22-year-old male ran to a nearby residence and alerted police at 6:41 a.m. of the situation at the residence.

Once DPD officers arrived, it was determined a possible hostage situation was in progress so the Special Response Team and negotiators were called to the scene.

On the scene, officers observed a child in the second story window of the residence, one who was rescued by officers using a ladder supplied by the Dyersburg Fire Department.

Negotiations were established with Harris, who was inside the residence. After a short period of time, Harris voluntarily surrendered to police and walked out the front door of the residence where he was taken into custody.

DPD officers then made entry into the residence and found Joycelyn Harris, who was pronounced dead at the scene.

The investigation is continuing and is being conducted by the DPD Criminal Investigation Division.

Note: The nature of the Internet makes it impractical for our staff to review every comment. If you feel that a comment is offensive, please Login or Create an account first, and then you will be able to flag a comment as objectionable. Please also note that those who post comments on stategazette.com may do so using a screen name, which may or may not reflect a website user's actual name. Readers should be careful not to assign comments to real people who may have names similar to screen names. Refrain from obscenity in your comments, and to keep discussions civil, don't say anything in a way your grandmother would be ashamed to read.

Just another disgusting piece of trash! We soooo need harsher punishments for criminals! Why can we not to unto them as they do to their victims? Like the fat pig who let his beautiful 2yr old baby burn alive inside the 120 degree car... lets let him die a slow painful death like tht. Or this guy, this stab him to death and let him bleed out slowly. All the rapists... lets cut off their manhood... etc. Why should they be able to walk around living and breathing freely, hanging out exercising and watching tv and junk? If their were worse punishments, I bet all these cowardly punks would think twice about their actions!

-- Posted by Hadley007 on Thu, Jul 3, 2014, at 5:59 PM

Well Hadley,

I can see you know nothing about Jack and _ _ _ _..... This man has never been in trouble all his life,so for you to get on your soapbox and run your mouth is just wrong. Its very sad and heart breaking to see what has happened with this family.

I pray for the families and the pain that this has caused.

-- Posted by austin on Thu, Jul 3, 2014, at 7:38 PM


I am curious why didnt you say anything about this guy:

A Dyersburg man, arrested on Friday, June 27 by the Dyer County Sheriff's Department after an Alabama grand jury indicted him for murder, was turned over to Alabama authorities on Tuesday afternoon.

Randall Kirkpatrick Jr., 33, was indicted for the murder of Deborah Kirkpatrick stemming from a 2003 incident originally reported as a suicide.

-- Posted by austin on Thu, Jul 3, 2014, at 7:42 PM

if I wuz gonna bet, I'd bet hadley is a card carrying tea partier! guess they have same right to think/say what they think, as well as I. actually, it's pity for such narrow-brained people.

-- Posted by closerlook on Thu, Jul 3, 2014, at 8:44 PM

I'll never understand morons that try to use the Tea Party as an insult. The only people afraid of the Tea Party are welfare queens that are scared they might have to actually earn a living..

-- Posted by swampfox on Thu, Jul 3, 2014, at 9:56 PM

Closer look, you are a Moran.....I am a member of the tea party and do not feel the same. It would be like calling you a liberal narrow minded democrat. Would that be an unbiased judgement of you?

I can't believe you posted this.......I know your identity and you are running on the democratic ticket for public office........how sad Mr. R.

-- Posted by HiredGun on Thu, Jul 3, 2014, at 10:49 PM

I personally know the suspect after working with him for many years. This is definitely not a case of dealing with trash. Willie has mental issues that he has fought for many years, and I am certain that he was probably off his medications. When on his medications, you couldn't ask for a more kind person. It breaks my heart for the whole family, even him. Once he is stabilized, there will be no one more remorseful for his crime than Willie. Prayers for all.

-- Posted by hotpocket1971 on Thu, Jul 3, 2014, at 11:25 PM

Wow, iv never seen so many people verbally attack one another over a newspaper article, when a family has been ripped apart. A women has lost her life and a child has lost both parents. Why don't we let God do his job at judging? My prayers are with this family. God bless you all and God bless this family.

-- Posted by Dyersburg citizen on Thu, Jul 3, 2014, at 11:32 PM

as for me i have known mr Harris for a long time , the family are very nice people whom i've known for a very long time . i do not know what happened but i know the family is really hurting now.prayers for all involved.this is so sad.

-- Posted by kitty3 on Thu, Jul 3, 2014, at 11:46 PM

Yes, Willie has fought with depression for years and would have never down this if he was lucid. He took responsibility for his illness the best that he could until his demons took over. I dare anyone to cast judgment on this man without knowing what he has been through. He adopted these two kids and gave them a home.

If the Dyersburg police was thinking, they would have in a mental hospital getting help rather than putting him in front of a judge right now. When John Hinckley shot Reagan, they put him in a mental institution with no prior record of mental illness. This guy was just sent home after two days from mental hospital when he tried to check himself in the hospital last week. So all you Hadley's out there that want to pass judgment. Go to the hospital and ask them why they wouldn't help him.

-- Posted by kackmac10 on Fri, Jul 4, 2014, at 12:26 AM

Well said kackmac i myself have family members that deal with mental illness, and it's sad but it's next to impossible to get help, or into a mental facility. I myself am a victim of a violent crime commited by a mentally ill person in which his medication and the mental health system had failed him. There are so many people that need help and can't get it. Some people have to wait months to get help, that's a long time to wait when your suffering and battling with your own mind. Mental illness is a sickness that has to be treated yet is made fun of and judged by so many. I pray for peace for this family and everyone affected by this.

-- Posted by Dyersburg citizen on Fri, Jul 4, 2014, at 12:45 AM

All of you speak and its heard but the deceased is my boss sister and she even said that Willie was a wonderful and caring person when on his meds, there's no time for bashing and finger pointing but there it's time for prayer and relief.

-- Posted by coopster1 on Fri, Jul 4, 2014, at 1:48 AM

"closerlook" appears to be another deranged liberal who wants to blame everything on the Tea Party. If it had not been for the Tea Party Obama would be on his way to announcing himself King & Emperor of the US.

-- Posted by Dude2010 on Fri, Jul 4, 2014, at 7:15 AM

Tell me everybody what does your political viewpoints have to do with this story? Maybe some of you clicked on the wrong story. It's disrespectful to this family and to the children that lost there parents to get on here and politically attack one another. This family needs prayer not a campaign or a political debate geez.

-- Posted by Dyersburg citizen on Fri, Jul 4, 2014, at 9:59 AM


-- Posted by hotpocket1971 on Fri, Jul 4, 2014, at 2:48 PM

all i can do is pray for all involved, i know people will talk and don't know the facts, it makes me wonder what is wrong with society.we as a people need to stop blaming & pointing fingers .let it go and start praying we need more love in good times & bad times.my prayers are going up for the Harris family.

-- Posted by kitty3 on Fri, Jul 4, 2014, at 8:37 PM

"Dyersburgcitizen"- direct your "keep your politics out of this" comments to "closerlook". He is the idiot who brought the Tea Party into it.

-- Posted by Dude2010 on Sat, Jul 5, 2014, at 3:17 AM

So sad all of it...but people need to stop playing GOD HE CHOOSE TO GO OFF HES MEDS..

-- Posted by chief_ty20 on Sat, Jul 5, 2014, at 9:11 AM

I am the son of the wonderful woman who lost her life. My mother was a faithful and true individual. She is very loving and toughed it out in a situation most people would run from. While my mother was not perfect, and neither was he...he was fully aware of his issues and the importance of taking medication. Please don't talk about something you know nothing about. Leave something positive or just keep it moving out of respect for my family.

-- Posted by Keen on Sat, Jul 5, 2014, at 4:39 PM

Keen- my prayers and thoughts are with you and your family my God bless you all, and give you peace through these tough times.

-- Posted by Dyersburg citizen on Sun, Jul 6, 2014, at 12:27 AM

Sheepdog what's a moran?

-- Posted by win2kadm on Sun, Jul 6, 2014, at 12:37 PM

thank u 4 all the compliments!!

-- Posted by closerlook on Sun, Jul 6, 2014, at 6:07 PM

I am a sister of the beautiful and giving person whose life was taken in this tragedy. And Yes, I know Willie has issues mentally and yes, I knew him to be a nice guy person when medicated. But, as my nephew stated, he has had this illness for a while and knows the outcome of not taking the meds. Bottom line is He killed my sister and none of you know the impact of her loss or our pain or the roller coaster of emotions we are experiencing - a father who lost his daughter, a son who lost his mother, 4 sisters without that special one who made us whole as a unit, a granddaughter who lost her Nana and countless other relatives that love and miss her. You know family members, (The COLES family) is grieving, searching for answers, searching for justice and we read these articles and comments. Remember that when you are spreading your opinions, particularly negative ones.

-- Posted by Terriedc on Mon, Jul 7, 2014, at 8:48 AM

Joycelyn was such a wonderful person. In addition to her loving family, her extended family...her friends loved her very much and are also heartbroken and are coping through this tragedy. I can only imagine the pain and tremendous loss that the family must be feeling. My prayers, thoughts, and deepest condolences are with the Cole family as they manage through their loss... Much love...

-- Posted by busycw on Mon, Jul 7, 2014, at 3:17 PM

-- Terriedc, Don't worry about the opinions posted on here, you know what they say about opinions. Just know and take peace in the fact that there are people many you don't even know that are praying for your family, and praying that you all will find peace in this tragedy. May God be with your family every step of the way during your healing.

-- Posted by Dyersburg citizen on Mon, Jul 7, 2014, at 11:46 PM

Keenan, Terri & the Coles Family

I was devastated to hear of Joycelyn's passing, know that I am praying for you and the family to get thru this, I know how you feel,because the same thing ocurred in my family. Kennan I am so proud of the man that you have become thru all of your trials and tribulations, you've stood tall.

-- Posted by pawils on Tue, Jul 8, 2014, at 6:59 AM

I cannot even begin to process this information. Each and every person that has something derogatory to say about this family, CLEARLY, have no idea the character and the unconditional love this family shows, not only amongst themselves, but to others! Willie T. family took me in when I had no family, Jocelyn helped me any way she could all while encouraging me to keep my faith during some of the worst moments in my life. She was a good friend devout in her beliefs, strong willed,funny,and above all a mother...Willie was fun loving, hard working, honest,upright, and honorable man of great integrity (something most men today know NOTHING about). IF YOU KNEW this family, politics wouldn't even be a topic on this page fore these were ppl of the TRUE GOD (the two don't mix) and unseen circumstances befall us ALL. ILLNESS OF THE MIND is a imperfection of the BODY and sometimes things go wrong in that. Nevertheless, show the utmost respect to this family and their loss because you would want the same dignity and respect shown to YOU in such a circumstance. If your looking for ppl who knew these ppl to smear their names you will look for eternity fore there is not ONE!

-- Posted by Erica_Hay on Tue, Jul 8, 2014, at 11:04 AM

Well said Erica_Hay. Mental illness is a serious sickness and just as a ligit illness as cancer or any other illness yet it's made fun of and criticized so often. It's beyond me why people get on here and say such heartless things that they know nothing about. Some of the comments made had absolutely nothing to do with this article and is disrespectful to the family, and those who said it can reply to this as they want but it's still does not conceal there true hearts and cruelty.

-- Posted by Dyersburg citizen on Tue, Jul 8, 2014, at 3:42 PM

She was such a beautiful woman inside out. A very loving, caring, respectable person. I am really going to miss her and our talks. She was taken away from her granddaughter whom she adored. How does a grieving Father explain to his hurt little girl that she will know longer be able to spend time with her Nana. Our family is suffering and Willie Harris needs to be held accountable for his actions.

-- Posted by blueyetammyyy on Tue, Jul 8, 2014, at 6:12 PM

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: