“This was you, and you deserve to go to prison,” Victim Says After 21 Year Cold Case

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A Rogers teacher was kidnapped and raped almost 20 years ago.

On Thursday, February 7, her attacker was sentenced to 50 years behind bars.

Thursday afternoon Amy Harrison walked into the courthouse and faced her attacker. After pleading guilty, he will now serve 50 years in prison. A sentence Harrison said was well worth the wait.

“Over two decades ago, a nameless faceless man entered Frank Tillery Elementary in Rogers and attacked and raped Amy Harrison,” Benton County Prosecuting Attorney Nathan Smith said.

Former Gateway Police Chief Grant Hardin is now behind bars for 50 years.

After years of police tracking down leads around the country, they caught a break from prison. Hardin was convicted of first-degree murder in a separate case and his DNA was entered into a national database.  

It came back as a match to a rape kit taken from Harrison in 1997. She then got a knock on her door that would change her life forever.

“I just remember jumping up and screaming and oh my gosh it was exhilarating, it was terrifying, it was hopeful. I don’t know how else to describe it, it was just great,” Amy Harrison said. 

On February 7, Harrison came face to face with her attacker. She said she only wants him to know one thing:

“I’m not a victim. I didn’t deserve this. This was you, and you deserve to go to prison,” Harrison said.

Chief Hayes Minor with the Rogers Police Department said if it wasn’t for her courage, they would never have been able to see Hardin in handcuffs.

“Without her strength that day, her willingness to stay with us, to believe in us, we may have lost our way but we didn’t and here we are,” Chief Minor said.

“Even for me, it was very tempting at the beginning to just say “no I don’t want anybody to know what happened to me,” but I took the chance and believed that I didn’t deserve that,” Harrison said.

Harrison said now she wants survivors like her to know something. 

“You don’t deserve it, report it. Even if you don’t know who it was, why they did it. Know you don’t deserve it and be brave,” Harrison said.

During the hearing, Hardin apologized and said he hopes she can forgive him.

As for Harrison, she said this case is settled and her attacker is now behind bars where he deserves to be.

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