Arts and Entertainment

FW author Nancy Bartley explores sheriff shooter's redemption

Nancy Bartley - Courtesy photo
Nancy Bartley
— image credit: Courtesy photo

Federal Way author and Fulbright Scholar Nancy Bartley will sign copies of her book "The Boy Who Shot the Sheriff: The Redemption of Herbert Niccolls, Jr." at noon June 29 at the Federal Way Barnes and Noble, 31325 Pacific Hwy. S.

This non-fiction narrative shows how a 12-year-old boy from Asotin, Wash., accidentally shot a beloved sheriff in 1931.

Herbert Niccolls Jr. was sentenced to life in prison, but turned his life around with help from compassionate child advocates. These people pressured Gov. Clarence Martin to keep the boy out of the mainstream prison population.

Niccolls, who entered prison as a malnourished 60-pound child, was released after nine years. While in prison, it was discovered that Niccolls was brilliant, especially in math. He earned a high school diploma and went on to write screenplays in Hollywood — and lived a crime-free life.

Bartley's story takes a hard look at the nation's juvenile justice system and redemption in society.

"People wanted to hang him at the time of the murder. He was considered a permanent menace to society," Bartley said, noting the societal attitudes toward young offenders involved in high-profile crimes. "Even these 'throwaway kids,' under the right circumstances, can have some form of redemption."

Bartley spent the better part of 20 years writing and researching the book, which is her first. Bartley, who works as a Seattle Times reporter, is currently writing a screenplay based on the book.


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