The Kentucky Attorney General has filed a motion to dismiss the 1992 murder indictments of Garr Keith Hardin and Jeffrey Dewayne Clark. The move to dismiss the two men’s convictions is based on DNA testing and evidence of police misconduct. Hardin and Clark served over 20 years of their life sentence before their convictions were vacated and they were released in 2016. They are to appear in court on Monday, February 19, 2018, where their legal team will ask the court to dismiss the indictments.
Back in 1995, Hardin and Clark were convicted of fatally stabbing 19-year-old Rhonda Sue Warford and dumping her body in a field. During their trial, the prosecution’s main “evidence” were claims that the two men committed the murder as part of a Satanic sacrifice. However, the state’s own expert acknowledged that nothing about the crime lined up with a Satanic ritual sacrifice.
The only alleged physical evidence linking the men to the crime or crime scene was a hair found on the sweatpants of the victim. A microscopic hair expert claimed the hair could be “matched” to Hardin. However, the evidence was revisited in 2009 where it was found that the hair did not come from Hardin or Clark, ultimately disproving a substantial part of the state’s case.
Prosecutors also relied on the sworn testimony of Detective Mark Handy, who testified that Hardin admitted to killing animals as a form of Satanic ritual and “got tired of looking at animals and began to want to do human sacrifices.” However, Handy would later be investigated for falsifying the confession of Edwin Chandler, who ended up serving 10 years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit.
Speaking about the dismissal, former supervising attorney of the Kentucky Innocence Project, Linda Smith, said, “As the Attorney General’s Office acknowledged in its motion to dismiss, this prosecution was based in large part on the unreliable testimony of Louisville Metro Police Detective Mark Handy whose testimony was also the primary evidence against at least one other man who spent a decade in prison for a crime that occurred around the same time Hardin and Clark were being investigated. Recent news reports that he is still on the job are deeply troubling. We hope the state will take measures quickly to hold him accountable for his misconduct.”
Garr Keith Hardin is represented by Larry Simon, Esq. and the Innocence Project. If you are in need of an experienced criminal defense attorney, you should contact our Louisville office to schedule a free consultation today.