Former Officer Pleads Innocent To Charge Stemming From Standoff

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A former police officer shot and left paralyzed by state troopers during a highway standoff pleaded innocent Monday to a charge that he killed his wife.

Hermando "Cliff" Harton Jr., 39, has been indicted on eight charges, including aggravated murder in the death of his wife, Elizabeth, 27.

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

Earlier that day, police found his wife's body in their suburban Columbus home.

Harton, paralyzed from the waist down, was in a wheelchair when he appeared in Franklin County Common Pleas Court.

Harton's attorney, Sarah Thomas Kovoor, asked that the other seven charges be dismissed because they did not occur in Franklin County. A magistrate refused and enter innocent pleas on Harton's behalf.

A judge later refused to set bond in the case.

Harton was fired as a Columbus police officer July 8 because of a September 2000 shooting in which he fired at the car of a fleeing shoplifting suspect while working security for a grocery store, police have said.

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