Slain officer could get compensation through constable law

Published 6:00 am Tuesday, December 7, 2021

The family of a retired Wilcox County deputy who was working as a constable could be the first person to receive compensation under a change in state law made earlier this year, according to the Alabama Constable’s Association.

Madison “Skip” Nicholson was shot to death on Wednesday, and the president of the Alabama Constable’s Association, Chauncey Wood, said survivors could be compensated under a law passed earlier this year that included constables as peace officers eligible for death benefits.

Constables are elected in local votes and perform duties that include serving legal papers. Nicholson, 78, had served as constable for 21 years, according to the association, and was assisting Chief Deputy Trenton Gulley when a man opened fire on both of them.

“Constable Nicholson was known as ‘The Constable’ in his small community of Yellow Bluff. We know the citizens will miss his kindness and heart for service. He was a true servant of the people. He loved his job and always took care of his community,” Wood said in a statement.

Nicholson was fatally wounded and Gulley was shot in a confrontation that left a suspect dead in tiny Yellow Bluff, a town about 90 miles (about 144 kilometers) southwest of Montgomery. Nicholson died in the line of duty, state police said.

An investigation showed Gulley shot a suspect identified as Billy Bizzell, 52, a prosecutor said.

Nicholson was the first Alabama constable killed in the line of duty since 1903, according to the association.