Vol Dooley

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Vol Sevier Dooley, Jr.

In office
July 8, 1976​ – July 1, 1988​
Preceded by William Edward
"Willie" Waggonner
Succeeded by Larry Clinton Deen

Born January 20, 1927​
Memphis, Tennessee, USA​
Died August 11, 2014 (aged 87)
Bossier City, Louisiana
Resting place Hillcrest Cemetery in Haughton in Bossier Parish​
Political party Democrat / later Republican
Spouse(s) (1) Bobbie Katherine Dooley (divorced)​

(2) Ruth Lilley Dooley​

Children From first marriage:

Patricia Dooley Davidson Netherland
​ Steven Norris "Steve" Dooley
​ James Michael "Mike" Dooley
​ Vol Dooley, III (1965-2001)​
Stepsons:​ Autry Brown
​ Dennis Brown
​ Ricky Brown
​ 28 grandchildren from both marriages​

Residence Bossier City, Louisiana​
Occupation Law-enforcement officer ​
Religion Southern Baptist​​

Vol Sevier Dooley, Jr. (January 20, 1927 – August 11, 2014), was the sheriff of Bossier Parish in northwestern Louisiana from 1976 to 1988. Dooley is best known for two events that happened before and after he was sheriff, the false conviction of rodeo star Jack Favor in 1967 and the murder of his youngest son, Vol Dooley, III, in 2001.​


Dooley's father, Vol Dooley, Sr. (1903-2002), was a native of the Walnut Hill Community near Bradley in Lafayette (pronounced LEH FAY ETTE) County in southwestern Arkansas. His mother was the former Sadie Rae Hargrove(1908-1994). Vol Dooley, Sr. is interred at the Lay Cemetery in the parish seat of Benton and the location of the sheriff's office.[1]

A long-term resident of Bossier City, Dooley was born in Memphis, Tennessee. An uncle and a cousin served there in the Memphis Police Department. Two of Dooley's sons followed him into law-enforcement work.[2]

In 1950, he joined Troop G of the Louisiana State Police and was a state trooper until 1954, when he began employment with the Bossier Sheriff's Office.[3] With the state police, he developed an expertise in fingerprinting and photographic equipment, which he brought to the sheriff's department.[4]

Twelve years as sheriff

Succeeding Willie Waggonner

​ Sheriff's Dooley became the chief deputy to Sheriff William Edward "Willie" Waggonner of rural Plain Dealing, the older brother of the late U.S. Representative Joe Waggonner of Louisiana's 4th congressional district (now represented by Republican Mike Johnson). Waggonner was elected sheriff in 1948 to succeed Louis H. Padgett, Sr. (1883-1955), for whom Waggonner had been the chief deputy. As acting sheriff under appointment from Governor Edwin Edwards, Dooley won a special election for the position held in conjunction with the 1976 presidential election for the remainder of Waggonner's term.[3] He defeated Don Martin Whittington (1935-2017), a farmer[5] and the father of current Sheriff Julian Whittington.[6] Dooley was subsequently reelected to regular four-year terms in 1979 and 1983.[7]

Jack Favor case

​ In 1967, Sheriff Waggonner and Chief Deputy Dooley were accused of collusion with then Judge O. E. Price and District Attorney Louis H. Padgett, Jr. (1913-1980), of the 26th Judicial District in Benton to rig the double murder trial of rodeo champion Jack Favor (1911-1988) of Fort Worth, Texas. Favor was falsely accused of shooting to death an elderly couple, Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Richey, who operated a bait and tackle business near Haughton in south Bossier Parish. Waggonner believed the false testimony of Favor's accuser, Floyd Edward Cumbey.[8] Favor sued for wrongful conviction and imprisonment but settled for $55,000 (147,000 in 2020 dollars).[9] The Favor case had no impact on Dooley's political viability.

Police brutality case

On July 23, 1984, Dooley and six of his deputies, one, Rick Ramey, then deceased, were directed to pay $2,500 to inmate Jessie Lee Smith for pain, suffering, and a delay in medical treatment in an incident which became violent while Smith was being transported from the Bossier Parish Jail in Benton to the Elayn Hunt Correctional Center in St. Gabriel in Iberville Parish in South Louisiana. Smith had just lost an appeal for armed robbery. Then U.S. District Judge Tom Stagg of Shreveport described Smith as "obdurate or obstreperous" but said that the authorities used excessive force to control the inmate in violation of protections of the United States Constitution. Because doctors at the Hunt Center found no broken bones, skull fracture, concussion, or torn ligaments, Smith could not receive punitive damages in his suit. Judge Stagg said that he found no credible evidence that Dooley maintained a policy of physical abuse of prisoners at the jail. Nevertheless, he declared Dooley "jointly liable" with the deputies for abuse of Smith. Dooley was represented in the suit by state Senator Sydney B. Nelson of Shreveport.[10]

Bossier Parish politics

In 1985, Dooley was cited in The Chicago Tribune in an article on Louisiana politics focusing on the hierarchy of cozy political relationships. The Tribune described bail bondsman Wiley Fallon of Bossier City as a friend and supporter of Sheriff Dooley, "the law in Bossier Parish," who:​

in turn is a friend and supporter of Governor Edwin Edwards. That's the long-accepted way things work in Louisiana, a state that operates under a political trickle-down theory, beginning with the governor. Just as in the economic trickle-down theory, the political version goes that if the big guns at the top are taken care of, the benefits will eventually reach everyone else down below. In the form, for example, of more hospital rooms. Eventually the power and its benefits, albeit on a much smaller scale, trickle down to the parishes--as the counties are called in Louisiana--to the Vol Dooleys and the Wiley Fallons.[11]

​ In his last year as sheriff from 1987 to 1988, Dooley was president of the Northwest Division of the Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement, an agency created under the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 to direct federal funds to local and state law enforcement entities with the goal of making them more effective in protecting the citizenry.[12]

On October 24, 1987, Dooley was unseated as sheriff by his former chief deputy, Larry Callaway Deen (born 1948) of Benton, a son of Jesse Claude Deen (1922-2015), a retired educator and then an outgoing state representative for Bossier Parish. Larry Deen polled 17,113 votes (62 percent) to Dooley's 7,973 (28.9 percent). Bill Gray, a third Democratic candidate, held the remaining 2,518 votes (9.1 percent).[13]

After he left the sheriff's department, Dooley worked in security for the Port of Shreveport.[3][4] At some time after his term as sheriff ended, Dooley, despite his ties to Edwin Edwards, re-registered as a Republican, as did his successor, Larry Deen.[14] Sheriff Julius Whittington, elected in 2011, is also a Republican.[15]​ ​

Family life

Two days after Dooley's reelection as sheriff in 1983, he moved out of the home that he had shared with his first wife, Bobbie Katherine Dooley (born 1932), to whom he was married for thirty-one years. Each claimed in a bitter divorce allegations of cruel treatment "which rendered their living together insupportable." Mrs. Dooley claimed that her husband was involved in an affair with his secretary amid the reelection campaign.[16] Dooley subsequently remarried; his widow is Ruth Lilley Brown Dooley (1936-2020), originally from Pleasant Hill in Sabine Parish and one of five children of James Oda Lilley (1908-1994) and the former Lucille Jewel Greer (1909-1988).[17]

Dooley has four children from his first marriage, Patricia "Patsy" D. Davidson Netherland (born 1954), Steven Norris "Steve" Dooley (born 1955) and wife Teresa Ford Dooley, and James Michael "Mike" Dooley (born 1957) and wife Donna Carter Dooley, and Vol "Bubba" Dooley, III (1965-2001), who was murdered by Dooley's estranged daughter-in-law.[1] He acquired three stepsons from his second marriage: Autry Brown, Dennis Brown, and Ricky Brown.[3]

Murder of youngest son

In 2001, Dooley's estranged daughter-in-law, Jocelyn Banks Dooley, and her boyfriend, Jeffrey E. Kosden (born 1967), a bartender originally from New Jersey, were charged with second degree murder in the disappearance and death of Dooley's then 36-year-old son, Vol "Bubba" Dooley, III, an employee of a Bossier City casino. In 2003, Jocelyn Dooley received a life sentence for shooting her husband to death and forty additional years for obstruction of justice.[18] Early in 2005, the Louisiana Second Circuit Court of Appeal in Shreveport upheld Dooley's conviction.[19] The Louisiana Supreme Court then rejected Jocelyn Dooley's appeal, which was based on immunized testimony provided against her by Kosden. Prosecutors said that Dooley, III, was shot in his home in Plain Dealing and that his wife solicited help from Kosden to bury her husband's body in a shallow grave off Louisiana Highway 2 in neighboring Caddo Parish. The grave was found nine days later.[20][21]

Kosden turned state's evidence, and the charges against him were dropped in 2010 because he was not involved in the actual shooting of Dooley but in the illicit disposal of the corpse.[22] In 2011, eight years after the verdict against Jocelyn Dooley, the case was featured on the documentary television series, Sins and Secrets on the Discovery Channel.[23] Vol Dooley, Jr., appeared as himself in Sins and Secrets.[24] The murder case was also televised on Snapped.


Dooley died in Bossier City at the age of eighty-seven of a lengthy illness at the age of 87. Services were held on August 14 at Cypress Baptist Church in Benton, with Dooley's friend, the Reverend Billy Pierce, officiating. Interment followed at Hillcrest Cemetery in Haughton.[3]

In the ceremony, fourteen motorcycles headed what local law enforcement officials called a "presidential escort." Some forty vehicles from the Bossier Parish Sheriff's office, the Bossier City and Shreveport police departments, and other agencies as well stood watch as the body was moved from the church to the cemetery. Sheriff Julius Whittington said that he had grown up three houses away from Dooley, who was Whittington's Little League baseball coach. "Who would have known? Who would have dreamed?," said Whittington, who followed Dooley as sheriff twenty-four years thereafter.[25]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Obituary of Vol Dooley, Sr., The Shreveport Times, April 10, 2002.
  2. John Andrew Prime. Vol Sevier Dooley, Jr.. findagrave.com. Retrieved on July 20, 2020.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Ex-Bossier Sheriff Vol Dooley dies. The Shreveport Times (August 12, 2014). Retrieved on July 20, 2020.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Charles D. Cardin (1999). Images of America: Bossier Parish. Charleston, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing Company. ISBN 978-0-7385-0172-7. Retrieved on July 20, 2020. 
  5. "Vol Dooley wins," Minden Press-Herald, November 3, 1976, p. 3.
  6. Lydia Ann Merritt Whittington. findagrave.com. Retrieved on July 20, 2020.
  7. Lt. Bill Davis, Public Information Officer, Bossier Parish Sheriff's Department, List of Sheriffs since 1843.
  8. Legal Blotch. The Paris (Texas) News (January 6, 1982). Retrieved on July 20, 2020.
  9. People in the News: Jack Favor, rodeo star: Settlement Reached. google.com. Retrieved on July 20, 2020.
  10. Jessie Lee SMITH v. Vol S. DOOLEY et al., July 23, 1984. leagle.com. Retrieved on July 20, 2020.
  11. Mitchell Loein (June 2, 1985). Clout Southern Style:. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved on July 20, 2020.
  12. History of Northwest Law Enforcement Agency. rrdnw.com. Retrieved on July 20, 2020.
  13. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns (Bossier Parish), October 24, 1987.
  14. The voter portal maintained by the Louisiana Secretary of State (then Tom Schedler) as of August 12, 2014, listed Dooley as a Republican voter and his month and year of birth as January 1927. The portal is kept up to date and upon death, usually within a week or even less of passing, a voter is struck from the listing. This prevents election fraud with "the dead" casting ballots.
  15. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns (Bossier Parish), October 22, 2011.
  16. Bobbie Katherine DOOLEY, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Vol S. DOOLEY, Jr., Defendant-Appellee. leagle.com (October 30, 1985). Retrieved on July 20, 2020.
  17. Ruth Lilley Dooley. findagrave.com. Retrieved on July 20, 2020.
  18. Snapped (TV series): "Jocelyn Dooley". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved on July 20, 2020.
  19. "Second Circuit Upholds Conviction of Dooley," The Shreveport Times, February 24, 2005.
  20. Dooley life sentence upheld by court. KSLA-TV (CBS in Shreveport (February 16, 2014). Retrieved on July 20, 2020.
  21. Local Murder Case on National TV: Jocelyn Banks Dooley. KEEL Radio (Shreveport) (March 9, 2011). Retrieved on July 20, 2020.
  22. STATE of Louisiana, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Jeffrey E. KOSDEN, Defendant-Appellant. leagle.com. Retrieved on July 20, 2020.
  23. Bossier Parish homicide case will be featured on digital television program. Magnolia (Arkansas) Reporter (March 9, 2011). Retrieved on July 20, 2020.
  24. Vol Dooley, Jr.. Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved on July 20, 2020.
  25. Maya Lau (August 15, 2014). Friends, colleagues pay tribute to Dooley at funeral. The Shreveport Times. Retrieved on July 20, 2020.

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