- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 8, 2014

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A 32-year-old Little Rock man who was charged with first-degree murder in the separate shooting deaths of his father and another man has been acquitted after state doctors found him insane at the time of the slayings.

Prosecutors on Monday told Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen that they accept the findings of Arkansas State Hospital doctors who found that Opio Anton Hardin is schizophrenic and unable to stand trial, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports (https://bit.ly/1qShFsD).

The doctors examined Hardin twice and said he could not control his behavior at the time of the slayings because of insanity.

Prosecutors hired their own experts to review the findings “out of an abundance of caution,” said deputy prosecutor John Hout.

Hardin was charged with killing Charlie Hardin Sr., 70, and Torence Nelson, 37, in October 2012.

Hardin, arrested about five hours after Nelson’s Oct. 4, 2012, slaying.

Little Rock police say witnesses reported that Hardin briefly spoke to Nelson, who was listening to music with headphones, before walking out of the house then returning with a pistol and shooting Nelson in the head, then leaving.

Hardin was found trying to change a flat tire on his father’s vehicle and police reported finding a pistol on the bumper of the vehicle when Hardin was arrested. Inside the vehicle, police found a second pistol, along with Hardin’s father’s cellphone, driver’s license and a credit card.

Police later found the elder Hardin’s home unlocked, accumulated newspapers on the front porch and blood inside the home, but not the father.

Charlie Hardin’s body, with a gunshot wound to the head, was found about a month later just south of Little Rock near Sweet Home. The body was eventually identified by DNA testing.

Authorities said Opio Hardin will remain in custody indefinitely while undergoing another mental evaluation by state doctors, who will establish a treatment plan for him.


Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, https://www.arkansasonline.com

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