Harry Meyers and William C. Lucas, Sr.

Harrison Township Chief of Police Harry Meyers and Officer William Lucas were shot by James Gibson outside Gibson’s home on the evening of December 21, 1917. Officer Lucas died December 23. Meyers died on January 6, 1918.

The officers had been called to Gibson’s home to arrest him by Gibson’s father, who told police of Gibson’s drunken and abusive behavior and his refusal to work. Gibson lied in wait for the police to arrive.

On June 27, 1918, Gibson was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 16-17 years in prison in the Meyers case. His defense was that he was intoxicated. On September 18, 1918, he pleaded guilty to killing Lucas. The judge deliberated until May, 14, 1919, before determining that Gibson had committed first degree murder; he was sentenced to death.

Claiming insanity, James Gibson petitioned the Pardon Board for commutation. His death sentence was commuted to life on March 18, 1920.

Author: Bill Lofquist

I am a sociologist and death penalty scholar at the State University of New York at Geneseo. I am also a Pittsburgh native. My present research focuses on the history of the death penalty in Allegheny County (Pittsburgh), Pa. This website is dedicated to collecting, analyzing, and sharing information about all Allegheny County cases in which a death sentence was imposed. Please share any questions or comments, errors or omissions, or other matters of interest related to these cases or to the broader history of the death penalty in Allegheny County.

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