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BENTONVILLE -- A judge today delayed the trial of the man arrested in connection with the 1997 rape of a Rogers school teacher.

Grant Hardin, 49, a former Gateway police chief, has pleaded not guilty to three counts of rape. He was arrested in February in connection with the attack. Hardin's jury trial was scheduled to begin Dec. 11.

His attorneys requested a delay because their DNA expert would be unavailable from Dec. 11-13. The attorneys also wanted more time to obtain potential alibi witnesses or documentation from companies that have dissolved or moved since November 1997, according to court documents.

Benton County Circuit Judge Robin Green reset the trial to begin Feb. 11.

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

The teacher was at Frank Tillery Elementary School 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 her and fled, according to a news release

Rogers police obtained a warrant in 2003 for a "John Doe" suspect in the case based on the DNA evidence. 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.

NW News on 11/14/2018

Print Headline: Hardin's jury trial delayed

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