Court orders new trial in satanic sacrificial murder case
On Thursday, the Supreme Court of Kentucky vacated Jeffrey Dewayne Clark and Garr Keith Hardin’s convictions, ordering a new trial after DNA evidence from the 1992 murder was tested with modern technology.
The new DNA analysis showed the single hair found on Rhonda Sue Warford wasn’t Hardin’s and the blood-stained rag found in Hardin’s room, wasn’t from a sacrificial ritual, but rather from Hardin cutting himself on a chalice’s jagged edge.
"This is such a glorious day," said Vickie Howser, Hardin's sister, to AP. "After 22 years, it is so about time for him to have a decent life. They took his life away from him for something he did not do."
Hardin’s girlfriend, Rhonda Sue Warford, was 19 when she left her home in Louisville after midnight on April 2, 1992. She was found dead 50 miles away in Meade County three days later with multiple stab wounds.
Hardin, and his close friend Clark, became the subject of the investigation after Warford’s mother told police she believed the boys, and her daughter, were all involved in satanism.
Other factors, like Hardin’s subsequent confession to the murder, and Clark’s confession to helping Hardin move the body, were found to have little merit as they were given during parole hearings and were "insincere and contrived admissions, which are induced solely by the yearning to be free."
Hardin’s attorney, Larry Simon, said he expected Meade County prosecutors to try the men a second time.