Man ar­rested in Gate­way mur­der case

Re­port: Ex-po­lice chief shot mayor’s brother-in-law in car

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NORTHWEST ARKANSAS - AN­NETTE BEARD AND BRAN­DON HOWARD

Gate­way Mayor Andrew Till­man was on the phone with his brother-in-law who worked for the city when the man was fa­tally shot by the town’s for­mer po­lice chief, ac­cord­ing to a prob­a­ble cause af­fi­davit.

Grant Hardin, 48, was ar­rested Fri­day in con­nec­tion with cap­i­tal mur­der. Hardin, who lives at 15617 Gann Ridge Road in the north­east part of the county be­tween Garfield and Gate­way, was be­ing held with­out bond at the Ben­ton County Jail.

James Ap­ple­ton’s body was found about 4:15 p.m. Thurs­day in a white pickup on Gann Ridge Road, ac­cord­ing to Ben­ton County Sheriff Shawn Hol­loway.

Hol­loway said Thurs­day even­ing Ap­ple­ton, 59, had a gun­shot wound to his head. Ap­ple­ton’s body has been sent to the state Crime Lab­o­ra­tory in Lit­tle Rock.

Hol­loway said the men knew each other, but a mo­tive for the shoot­ing wasn’t known.

Till­man told po­lice he was on the phone with Ap­ple­ton at 3:59 p.m. Thurs­day talk­ing about some­one pos­si­bly van­dal­iz­ing the city water tower when Till­man heard what sounded like a “loud slammed door,” ac­cord­ing to the af­fi­davit. Till­man said Ap­ple­ton quit talk­ing af­ter the noise, ac­cord­ing to the af­fi­davit.

An­other per­son found Ap­ple­ton’s body slumped over the steer­ing wheel of the pickup and called 911, ac­cord­ing to the af­fi­davit.

Till­man said the town has suf­fered a great loss.

“He did it all — parks, streets,” Till­man said.

County records show Hardin

served two terms as con­sta­ble for Ben­ton County Dis­trict 1 from

2009- 10 and 2013-14. Hardin was hired as the po­lice chief for Gate­way on Jan. 31, 2016, and re­signed in May. Frank Hack­ler Jr. was mayor at the time and re­signed Aug.

9, 2016. Till­man was ap­pointed to re­place Hack­ler.

North­west Arkansas Com­mu­nity Correction Cen­ter in Fayet­teville hired Hardin as a cor­rec­tional of­fi­cer Nov. 21, said Dina Tyler, the agency’s deputy direc­tor of com­mu­ni­ca­tions and public af­fairs. She said the process to fire Hardin has started.

Hardin’s ar­raign­ment is set for April 4 in Ben­ton County Cir­cuit Court.

NWA Demo­crat-Gazette/JA­SON IVESTER

A Ben­ton County Sheriff’s Of­fice deputy ac­com­pa­nies Grant Hardin (right) as he is led Fri­day for his bond hear­ing at the Ben­ton County Court­house in Bentonville. Hardin was ar­rested in con­nec­tion with the death of James Ap­ple­ton, Sheriff Shawn Hol­loway said.

Hardin

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