Murder of Lawman, 82, May Be Decade-Old Vendetta
Herbert Proffitt arrested suspect Charles Hammer, 81, years ago
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 10, 2012 10:41 AM CDT
Updated Sep 10, 2012 10:56 AM CDT

(Newser) – Police in a small Kentucky town are investigating whether a slow-burning desire for revenge that began with an arrest a decade ago was behind the murder of a career lawman last month. Herbert Proffitt, 82, was gunned down in his driveway while he went to fetch the mail. Charles Hammer, 81, is accused of killing the former police chief and sheriff, who arrested him in 2002 on charges of harassment, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest.

"It appears that there was an ax to grind," says a spokesman for Kentucky State Police, which is handling the investigation. "It appears to me to be revenge." The slaying has staggered people in Tompkinsville, a tight-knit town in the hills of south-central Kentucky, about 120 miles south of Louisville. Five days after her husband was killed, Bernice Proffitt died of what friends say was a broken heart; the Proffitts' only child, Jeff, is mayor. Hammer, meanwhile, was known around town for having a mean streak and a history of violence, and had been picked up several times for alcohol intoxication, disorderly conduct, harassment, and other charges.

Copyright 2016 Newser, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.

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Showing 3 of 14 comments
Sep 11, 2012 5:20 PM CDT
And you thought the Hatfields and McCoys were a myth! They are alive and well in Kentucky. No, scratch that. Dead and arrested in Kentucky.
Sep 11, 2012 11:04 AM CDT
You guys are all heart
Sep 10, 2012 8:52 PM CDT
That's what happens when cousins marry?