Christopher Shawn Wheeler, who gunned down Wythe County Deputy Cliff Dicker in 1994, is scheduled for a parole hearing next Wednesday (July 15). The prospect of Wheeler winning his freedom has spurred Dicker’s family into action to try and see to it the killer remains in prison.
Karla Dicker Turman, Deputy Dicker’s daughter, and the rest of his family are asking Wheeler’s parole be denied being that he has only served 25 of his 43-year sentence. Currently, the family is seeking letters of support to be sent speaking out against Wheeler’s potential parole through the Officers Down Memorial Page, odmp.org.
In addition to sharing the Officers Down Memorial Page, Turman and her family have organized a peaceful vigil to be held from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. on July 15th. The vigil will take place on a piece of property adjacent to Green Rock Correctional Center in Chatham.
On December 6, 1994 Deputy Clifford E. Dicker was shot and killed by a juvenile suspect while serving papers at a residence in Wytheville. As Deputy Dicker entered, Wheeler, the then 15-year-old suspect, shot him in the face with a .22 caliber rifle, wounding him. Wheeler then took Deputy Dicker’s service weapon and shot him in the head, which killed him. Wheeler was arrested a short time later and tried as an adult. He plead no contest to Deputy Dicker’s murder and was sentenced to 43 years in prison.
Deputy Dicker had served with the Wythe County Sheriff’s Office for 14 years. Turman recalls her father’s service to the community and to his country as he was also a U.S. Air Force veteran. Above all, she boasts of his service and devotion to his family, tearfully stating that if her father were alive today, he would have 15 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.
The community of Barren Springs shares in honoring Deputy Dicker as their longtime neighbor and friend. His beloved wife, Sue Dicker, still resides there and joins family and friends in commemorative causes and events. A memorial highway sign stands in honor of Deputy Dicker on Route 100 between Pulaski County and Carroll County.
Turman emphasizes that recalling her father’s murder is more than a tragic memory for the family, but it has turned into an ongoing cause in hopes to help others. Virginian Concerns Of Police Survivors, Inc. (Virginia COPS) is one of several groups Turman is an active member of. For Turman, serving as president for Virginia COPS is a calling that has remained immutable over the last 25 years.
Reaching out to local and state-level groups, Turman works diligently, calling for awareness in the current parole eligibility laws. “Changing the law, such as not abolishing the 1995 No Parole Law, will not change what happened to my father 25 years ago, but it could help others,” stated Turman in reference to a letter she has sent multiple times in hopes to be heard by those who can make a difference.
Turman asks for anyone who wants further information about the upcoming vigil or any of the groups she is a part of to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
By KRYSTAL WHITT, The Patriot
(Top photo: Cliff and Sue Dicker)