Interrogation of Former Police Chief For Capital Murder

Or, alternatively, the most not-happening police interrogation you have ever seen… but one that raises interesting questions about what rights you actually have while being interrogated, and what it means if they are violated.

In the 2010 Supreme Court case Berghuis v. Thompkins, the Court’s majority opinion wrote “If the right to counsel or the right to remain silent is invoked at any point during questioning, further interrogation must cease.”

It seems that these guys missed the memo.

But what’s the worst that could happen? They might not be able to use his statements? Okay. They didn’t need them. Any other remedies? Not really. (But there is more to that story. Anyone know?)

In November 1997 an Arkansas schoolteacher at work on a Sunday morning was raped. The perpetrator was so careful to not leave evidence that detectives thought he might have had law enforcement training, but he left something behind: his DNA.

The same DNA that resulted in the 2003 issuance of Arkansas’ first-ever “John Doe” DNA arrest warrant, prior to the expiry of Arkansas’ six year statute of limitations for the crime.

In October 2017, more than twenty years later, Hardin, then 50 years old, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder, admitting that he had killed James Appleton. Appleton pulled into a parking lot on Gann Ridge Road in Gateway, Arkansas on February 23, 2017, to talk with his coworker and brother-in-law on his cell phone. A passerby saw the pickup and a blue Chevrolet Malibu parked behind it.

The driver of the Malibu waved him around, the passerby told police, and when he was a few hundred yards away, he heard a bang and saw the Malibu speed toward him, before turning onto the dirt road where Hardin lived. With his family. And his blue Malibu. His wife Linda thought he had been outside spreading grass seed, but the passerby knew Hardin all his life. He was sure it was him.

Hardin was sentenced to 30 years in prison and was required to provide a DNA sample to the state. It was a match. Hardin had never even been a suspect, but on February 7, 2019 Hardin pleaded guilty to two counts of rape, finally closing the 1997 case. Hardin received 25 years on each of the two counts, which are running concurrently with his murder sentence. All in all, Hardin will serve at least 21 years of the 30-year murder sentence, and then another 14, before he is first eligible for parole at age 84.

Hardin had worked for four police agencies. He was fired from one, allowed to resign from one rather than be fired and resigned from two, always claiming his separation was on higher ground. For example, he claimed to have left Fayetteville Police Department because other officers were stealing and his work environment became intolerably hostile after he reported their theft. He resigned after seven months from Huntsville, stating that he refused to treat people unfairly, as was expected of him. A couple of departments later, and he found himself filing for unemployment. And being denied.

Hardin returned to the private sector, but kept his toe in law enforcement, serving two one-year terms as volunteer constable in Benton County. In 2016 Hardin became chief of police in Gateway, resigning after four months to earn an associate’s degree in criminal justice at Northwest Arkansas Community College.

Hardin was working in corrections when he was arrested for Appleton’s murder.

Hardin is now #168541 at Arkansas DOC’s North Central Unit, where — apart from the whole murder and rape thing — he has no major disciplinary violations, has completed an anger management course, and in October 2017 was determined to be minimum risk classification.

To this day no one knows why he killed Appleton.


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30 thoughts on “Interrogation of Former Police Chief For Capital Murder

  1. How is it legal to not tell someone what they’re being detained for? And if he was going to keep using his right to remain silent why wouldn’t he say fuck off I’m not saying shit without an attorney

  2. I know detectives are quite effective at this sort of seemingly simple, “innocent” and disorganized and non confrontational manipulation, but I will never understand why people are never abundantly clear with them, “I do not consent to interview and will be requesting my lawyer now. Charge me or release me”.

  3. I love how they don’t treat cops like criminals even when they have raped and murdered people for 20 years with no consequences. But they send a person with no criminal history who smokes pot to jail

  4. Here's the 3 rules for anyone who finds themselves in a police interrogation room:

    1) Keep your f****ng mouth shut

    2) Continue keeping your f****ng mouth shut

    3) After you've kept your f****ng mouth shut awhile, keep it shut some more

  5. Get him tired and worn down, Then "What time did you sleep in to? What show did you watch? what after that? 1st or 2nd Mad Max? Eat Breakfast? Laid out her pills? No house work? Then what? Did you go outside, it was a beautiful day? Fed the chickens? (So you went outside the house). How long does it take to do that? Played on the computer? You had to sign in to play? (So it'll have a time stamp). You went to dinner? Where? (location) What time? (receipt time), Did you change clothes? (type and color of clothes), Did anyone see you or you see them (establish witness to location). (Ah he responded with slight paranoia…this is the point where we have the incident)" "I'll come chit chat more". She sucked so much info out of him it's insane.

  6. How obvious…..they send the female in to work on him. And he falls for it. He talks. He no longer remains silent. Let's say he's guilty of many awful crimes. what would the Supreme Court say to these detectives? He told them over and over he was remaining silent, but they just wouldn't accept that.

  7. The man says he wants to remain silent. The interrogator immediately says, "Okay, but let me ask you something…." and then asks it. DUH!!!
    I hate it when they say "We want to help you". They don't want to help you. They want a quick, neatly wrapped case. We'll tell you what you did. Don't deny it and we'll be okay. Hate them. Hate them all.

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