BELLEVILLE, IL. (KMOX) - Former St. Clair County Sheriff Mearl Justus has died. Newly appointed sheriff Rick Watson made the announcement Tuesday.
Days ago, Justus announced his retirement. He had been sheriff for more than 30 years and had been in law enforcement for sixty years.
Mearl Justus was 81. He is survived by his wife Audrey. He had failing health since a gall bladder operation and recently announced his resignation.
Two days of visitation are planned on Thursday and Friday at Braun Funeral Home in Cahokia, Justus’ home town. A funeral service is planned at Holy Family Church in Cahokia. The public is invited to both visitation and the service. Times have yet to be announced.
Newly appointed Sheriff Watson told KMOX Justus was a man of his word, sometimes stern but fair. He fondly remembers the “Nabber Shoe Store” plot that Sheriff Justus concocted.
“He sent out notifications to people, that they could come in and get free shoes. Of course when they came in they were asked to sign a document. Police in the back room would check the information and if they were wanted on any outstanding warrant, they were arrested.” said Sheriff Watson.