Grand Jury Indicts Man Shot By Troopers - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Grand Jury Indicts Man Shot By Troopers

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A former police officer shot and left paralyzed by state troopers during a highway standoff has been indicted on a charge of killing his wife.

A Franklin County grand jury indicted Hermando "Cliff" Harton Jr., 39, on Wednesday on an aggravated murder charge and eight other charges.

State Highway Patrol troopers shot Harton along Interstate 71 in Ashland County on Aug. 2, ending a four-hour standoff. Authorities said he had shot at police officers and stolen a sheriff deputy's vehicle.

Earlier that day, police found the body of his wife, Elizabeth, 27, in their suburban Columbus home.

Harton could face the death penalty if convicted of the murder charge. However, his attorney said she could argue the slaying was an act of passion, if it turns out he killed his wife because she asked for a divorce, which would remove the chance of a death sentence.

"In a crime of passion, a person doesn't realize what they're doing," attorney Sarah Kovoor of Warren said Thursday.

Harton, paralyzed from the waist down, is in a Cleveland-area rehabilitation center, Kovoor said.

The indictment includes charges of attempted murder and felonious assault for allegedly shooting at officers.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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