Murder suspect sentenced after pleading guilty to lesser charge - KPTV - FOX 12

Murder suspect sentenced after pleading guilty to lesser charge

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GRESHAM, OR (KPTV) -

A man who was accused of aggravated murder for the death of his girlfriend will spend more than eight years behind bars.

John Hardaway was sentenced Thursday after pleading guilty to lesser charges of manslaughter and assault on Jan. 2.

He was arrested and charged with murder for the death of Barbara Smalley, 58, in May 2011. Court documents showed they were living together at the time in Gresham.

Investigators said her death was the result of traumatic brain injury caused by blunt force trauma.

Members of the victim's family spoke in court Thursday.

"I used to feel hatred and animosity after I found out what happened," said Aaron Thompson, Smalley's son. "Now, all I feel is pity."

Hardaway also pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the shooting death of Otha Lee Banks in 1996. According to court documents, he was also originally charged with murder in that case, but reached a plea deal a year after his arrest.

He was sentenced to 14 years in prison in that case.

Hardaway pleaded guilty in the most recent case by way of an Alford plea, meaning he still claims his innocence, but admits the prosecution's evidence would likely convince a jury to convict him.

"Nothing will bring Barbara back, but it's a sad commentary that this will likely be happening to another family at the end of his incarceration," said Patricia Collins, Smalley's sister.

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