||Deputy Sheriff Joseph Arthur
Harnest was fatally shot on Wednesday December 14, 1937. Deputy Harnest was 35
years old living in the city of West Columbia at the time of his death. Deputy
Harnest was killed instantly, when he was mistaken for an escaped convict from the West
Columbia area. At approximately two o'clock in the morning, the suspect, Brook Votaw,
was held at the Angleton Jail as the aftermath of a shooting hunt for the escape convict
concluded. Mr. Votaw, the son of a former Texas Ranger, was noted to
be in a state of shock due to the incident.