Mearl Justus, the longtime sheriff of St. Clair County died after a recent illness. Justus was sheriff for more than three-decades and was part of law enforcement for 59 years. Justus retired only last week following a lengthy recovery from gall bladder surgery.
St. Clair County Sheriff Richard Watson remembers his old friend as an innovator and a mentor to himself and other officers.
He served on the major case squad since it was founded in 1965 and was president of the Illinois Sheriff's Association. Justus was well known for a 1990 stunt for sending fugitives notices promising them a free pair of tennis shoes, netting dozens of arrests. Funeral arrangements are pending. Justus was 81-years of age.