Charges dropped in case of ex-supervisor’s killing

Published 3:45 am Sunday, May 25, 2008

Charges have been dropped against the only man arrested in the slaying of former Stone County supervisor Duncan Hatten.

As the result of forensics tests, Bobby Hendrix was freed Friday after three weeks in custody on a capital murder charge in the shooting death of Hatten, his 64-year-old neighbor.

“Probable cause did in fact exist at the time of his arrest,” said Assistant District Attorney Mark Ward. “In fairness to the family, an arrest was made. We felt we had done the right thing.”

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Judge Lisa Dodson granted a state request to dismiss the charge without prejudice, meaning prosecutors could refile the charge later.

“At this time we have found some evidence that does not corroborate our theory of the case,” Ward said. “In the event that we find new evidence on this particular defendant, we can re-arrest him immediately proceed with the capital murder charge. It just depends on where the evidence takes us.”

Prosecutors would not say what evidence led to Hendrix’s release.

Hendrix said he is innocent of the slaying.

On April 29, deputies responded to an alarm at Hatten’s home, Stone County Sheriff Mike Farmer has said. A deputy walked through the house with Hatten, and reported that everything appeared fine.

An hour later, Hatten’s son, Wiggins Fire Chief Jody Hatten, called authorities, saying he found his father shot to death. The sheriff said it appears he was shot once in the chest. Farmer said he believed the attacker was an intruder who was not found during the walk through.

Hatten, 64, served two terms as a county supervisor from 1999-2007.