On Thursday morning, attorneys from the Innocence Project and the Kentucky Innocence Project appeared in court in Meade County, Kentucky, to request release on bail for their respective clients, Garr Keith Hardin and Jeffrey Dewayne Clark, whose convictions were overturned last month. Hardin’s and Clark’s family members were hopeful that the two men were going to return home that day, but rather than issue a decision from the bench, the judge informed the parties that he would issue a written order.
Meade Circuit Judge Bruce Butler ruled last month that Hardin and Clark are entitled to a new trial based on new DNA evidence that proved that much of the evidence presented against the men at trial was false and evidence undermining the credibility of the lead detective in the case. Pending the Commonwealth Attorney’s decision as to how to proceed with the case, attorneys for Hardin and Clark are trying to get the men released on bail.
“It’s been hell. It really has been.” -Vickie Howser, Hardin’s sister
Hardin and Clark’s families, who have stuck by the men since they were convicted in 1995, have eagerly been awaiting their return ever since the men’s murder convictions were overturned on July 14. In court Thursday, the Meade Commonwealth Attorney opposed bail, stating that the men are a flight risk, despite the fact that the men were out on bond when the case was first tried and never missed a court appearance.
Visibly upset, Hardin and Clark’s families were forced to leave the courthouse, once again, disappointed by the outcome. Vicki Howser, Hardin’s sister told the Courier-Journal: “It’s been hell. It really has been. He went in at age 22, and now he’s in his 40s. It’s taken his whole young life away from him. So, we were hoping he’d get out today and start living.”
Attorneys for Clark and Hardin do remain hopeful that the judge will rule in their favor and release the men on bail soon.