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BENTONVILLE -- Defense attorneys want to delay a rape suspect's trial to gather more information in the 1997 attack of a Rogers schoolteacher.

Grant Hardin, 49, a former Gateway police chief, has pleaded innocent to three counts of rape. He was arrested in February in connection with the rape of the teacher at Tillery Elementary School.

Hardin's jury trial is scheduled to begin Dec. 11, and his attorneys filed a motion last week requesting the delay.

The motion claims the defense needs more time to obtain relevant information and documentation on the DNA testing in the case. The defense also needs information concerning procedures the Arkansas Crime Laboratory has used for the past 21 years, according to court documents.

According to the motion, the defense's DNA expert is unavailable Dec. 11-13.

The motion states Hardin's attorneys need more time to obtain potential alibi witnesses or documentation from companies that have dissolved or moved since November 1997, according to court documents.

Prosecutors object to the delay and claim the state Crime Laboratory's entire case file has been turned over to Hardin's attorneys. Their response claims the defense hasn't shown good cause to delay the trial and there is a strong public interest in the prompt disposition of the case, according to court documents.

Hardin's next court appearance is scheduled for Nov. 13.

Rogers Police Chief Hayes Minor said DNA from the rape linked Hardin to the case.

The teacher was at the school Nov. 9, 1997, preparing for the week's classes while a church service was in the cafeteria. About 11:30 a.m., the teacher went to use the restroom.

A man wearing a knit stocking cap and sunglasses brandished a pistol, raped the teacher and fled, according to a news release.

Rogers police obtained a warrant in 2003 for a "John Doe" suspect in the case. A John Doe warrant is an arrest warrant for an individual whose name isn't known. The statute of limitation for rape in Arkansas is six years, and the warrant was filed before time expired.

Hardin is serving a 30-year prison sentence for killing James Appleton in 2017.

State Desk on 11/04/2018

Print Headline: Former police chief seeks delay in his rape trial

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