Story Time

The Disturbing Case of the Chief of Police Killer

This is Grant Hardin, 48, known as a loving family man to his devoted wife, Linda, and their 16-year-old daughter, Grant also had a long but tarnished history and police service. In 1990, he joined the Fayetteville, Arkansas Police Force as a patrolman, where he spent a year until he was fired. He then transferred to Huntsville, where he also spent a year as a patrolman before quitting in 1993. He transferred once more to Eureka Springs, Arkansas, where he advanced a field training officer. He stayed there until late 1996 when he was allowed to resign after falsifying a report. After almost 20 years. He then reentered the police force and advanced to police chief in Gateway, Arkansas. At the time of his arrest, he was working at the Northwest Arkansas Community Correction Center in Fayetteville. On February 23, 2017, Hardin pulled up beside the truck of James Appleton, who was parked on Glenridge Road in Gateway, Arkansas, and shot him through the head. Another driver heard the shot and easily recognized Hardin. Having known the other man for most of his life. After killing Appleton, Harden returned home and took his family out to dinner. Although he was visibly upset, he wouldn’t tell him what was wrong.

Instead, he only told his wife. Just know I love you. God will take care of you. On their way home, they were stopped at a roadblock, and Harden was taken in for questioning.

Right hand turned over for me.


Thanks, sir. Okay, I see the right-back of your hand does the same thing with the left palm. Thanks, sir.

Pardon sits angled in a corner of the room, his heavy breathing the first sign of his distress. The second is the nervous tick, which causes his head to jerk sharply to the side. He manages to control it when Detective Chamberlain enters the room and prepares to give him a gunshot residue test. After being searched for weapons, he is allowed to use the restroom before questioning begins.

You don’t have any weapons on, do you? No. Okay. Let me search you real quick to place your hand up on the wall. Let’s go back. Okay. So where do you work at it?

Community Corrections.

Okay. All right. If you want to step right out here, I’ll have that other steps. Thank you. You can put that back in your pocket if you want, ma’am, you’re in Correction. So you know, we take people with that, and we don’t want to take the stuff down there and stuff and whatever. Not that you would, but you even may just forget it in there on accident. Are you right or left-handed? Right-handed. Okay. James Chamberlain. Okay. Did you use to be a police officer somewhere? I recognized you, but I wasn’t 100% sure where I knew you from, but somebody said that you used to be a police officer and Gateway or something like that. Okay. You were comfortable here, too. Forbidden county. Yeah. Forbidden county. Okay. That’s what I was thinking. How long did you do that?

Two years. It was elected two different terms.

But not together, not together. So on two separate occasions. Okay.

When they return, Chamberlain allows Harden to take back his keys, casually chatting to establish a connection between them based on being fellow officers. This is usually done to gain trust and to get the suspect to relax and open up a second. The detective enters and she silently sits down to observe. Hardin is asked about his history in law enforcement and is forthcoming with his answers.

Do you understand this? You’ve been through this before, so I’m just going to read it to you anytime we bring somebody to the Sheriff’s office. We read this before we start talking to people. Okay? And it’s just your statement of rights for us. Before we ask you any questions in my duty, advisor of your rights, you have the right to remain silent. Do you understand that? I need to affirm it. Yes or no. Okay. Anything said can be used against you in court or other proceedings. Do you understand that?


Okay. You have the right consultant attorney before making any statements or answering any questions. And you may have him or her present with you during questioning. Do you understand that? Yes. You may have an attorney appointed to you by the court to represent you if you cannot afford one or otherwise pay one at no cost. Do you understand that?


If you decide to answer questions now, without a lawyer, you still have the right to stop answering questions at any time or stop questioning to consult a lawyer. Do you understand that? Yes. Okay. However, you may have waived the right to advise and counsel and your right to remain silent. You may answer questions or make statements without consulting a lawyer if you so desire. Do you understand that? Yes. All I did was read this to you. I thought that you said yes. All of it. If I can get you to sign. I’m sorry if I can get you to sign thereby where I put that X I signed down here. Sorry. I know there’s a lot. There are too many Xs on my page. That’s not bad. That’s a different spot than where you get the impression of me and also on the other side over there. The date is the 23rd. February 23. Here’s the thing. I want to talk to you about what you’ve done today. Okay? Can you just take me through when you woke up this morning to when you got stopped by the police out there? What’s the name? I read you’re on. I’m sorry, man.

Ridge, I’m not going to say anything after I’ve been read those rights yet.

Okay. Why don’t you want to talk to me about your day?

I don’t know what’s going on. I am kind of sickly about what I’m here for and things.

Okay. So you don’t want to explain what you’ve done today? Is there a reason that you’re going to meet my rights?

And I don’t know why. And so what was the first thing said? I have the right to remain silent.

Okay, so you’re telling me that you don’t want to talk to me right now.

I’m going to remain silent.

Okay, cool. Hang tight here for just a few minutes, okay.

After being given his Miranda rights, Hardin shuts down, his voice becoming monotone when asked to recount the events of his day. He refuses, saying that he will not answer because they have read his rights and claims to feel sickly about being there. The detectives leave the room for several minutes to discuss their approach. This is also a psychological move because it gives the suspect time to worry about what is happening and what information they might have. If they are lucky, this will make him trip himself up when he answers their questions.

Okay, I talked to my boss. Maybe I think I was confused or I may have confused you on what’s going on here. I can’t tell you exactly why you’re here and you being a police officer. You understand that I need to rule you out as a suspect and a crime that’s been committed, and that’s why we got you here. So we need to talk to you. Find out regret. Does that make sense? Yes. Okay. So I don’t know if I scared you at the beginning of what, but that’s why I was trying to. You see the position that I’m in. I can’t tell you why you’re here, but at the same time, I need to rule you out into something. Does that make sense?

Entering the roof? Him, Detective Chamberlain proceeds to explain that he can’t tell Harden why he was being questioned and tries again without success to get him to relax, Harden remains adamant in his refusal to answer questions. As a former officer, he has to know that this is only making him look more suspicious. The longer he refuses to cooperate. He also hasn’t requested a lawyer, which makes the job more difficult for the detectives. Legally, they cannot force him to answer any questions, so they must proceed carefully if they’re.