Guilty…that was the plea entered by Christopher Allman on all charges against him stemming from the June 14, 2013 murder of Sarah Roberts Hart.
Included in the charges read to Allman in Russell Circuit Thursday morning April 3, there were a total of seven counts: murder, 1st degree rape, fetal homicide, kidnapping, 1st degree robbery, tampering with physical evidence and two counts of persistent felony offender 2nd degree.
Formal sentencing is scheduled for May 6, but in the plea agreement Allman agreed to the understanding he will likely receive life without the possibility of parole, insuring he spends the remaining years in prison.
Hart, 31, was jogging with her sister in the early morning hours on Hwy. 127 near Fruit of the Loom when she turned back to walk to her car, expressing not feeling well.
She was accosted by Allman who drug her from the sidewalk and into a clump of trees and shrubs across the Lake Cumberland Community Action Agency, where he raped, robbed and strangled her using a vine. Allman claimed to have robbery as motivation, but has acknowledged that the murder of Hart was intentional.
Hart was approximately three months pregnant at the time with what would have been her fourth child with husband Ryan Hart.
Hart had been missing from about 5:30 a.m. and through an exhaustive search by friends, family and concerned citizens, her body was found at 11:14 a.m.
Allman was arrested and charged initially 12 hours from the time of the murder by Kentucky State Police investigators Lt. Eric Wolford and Det. B.J. Burton.
Commonwealth Attorney and prosecutor in the case, Matthew Leveridge, said he was pleased with the outcome.
“As far as the process, we’ve been fortunate today. This case has been moved faster than most death penalty cases in Kentucky,” Leveridge said.
“We were able to get a trial date in two years. Typically you’re going to be looking at four to five years on a trial date.”
If a plea deal had not been reached a trial date and jury selection was scheduled for April 18, and Leveridge said he understood Allman’s defense would have requested another venue other than Russell County.
Leveridge said his office worked close with the family on the possibility of a plea deal, and that a jury imposed death sentence could take 30 years or more for the sentence to be carried out.
“In this case they decided that, knowing that he would never get out of prison, that he will die in prison and he will spend the rest of his life behind bars for the horrible things he did to Sarah and her family,” Leveridge said, weighed against the emotional impact years of appeals and continued court dates of a death sentence trial was a factor in the family accepting a plea deal on behalf of Allman.
Fruit of the Loom announced Thursday, April 3 that they will be closing operations in Russell County resulting in the loss of over 600 jobs, $208,000 in payroll taxes for the city of Jamestown, $165,000 in occupational taxes for the county and $1.6 million a year in water and sewer revenue for Jamestown.
Plant Manager Jeff wiles released this statement to the press:
“Fruit of the Loom, Inc. announced today the permanent closure of the Jamestown, Kentucky facility as part of the company’s ongoing efforts to align its global supply chain to allow the company to leverage existing investments and meet customer requirements more timely and cost effectively. The Jamestown facility will transition to our existing textile facilities in Honduras. Approximately 601 employees are affected by this announcement. The phase down is expected to begin in or around June 8, 2014 and be completed by December 31, 2014.”
“This decision is in no way a reflection on the dedication and efforts of the employees in our Jamestown facility, but is a result of a competitive global business environment,” said Tony Pelaski, Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer.
Employees affected by this reduction will be given a 60-day nottice in accordance with the Workers Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN).
State and local officials have been notified to provide any available assistance.
Jamestown Mayor Jerry Lawless made this public statement:
“In reponse to the announcement from Fruit of the Loom that it plans to close their Jamestown facility by the end of the year comes as a shock to the City of Jamestown as it does to everyone else. The city had no clue that this announcement was going to be made. Let’s remember that these decisions aren’t made on a local level but by the people in their corporate offices. With that being said let’s not criticize the local folks working at FOTL, it is their jobs that are being phased out, not corporate positions. It is a blow to our community that (we) will overcome as long as we work together.
Judge-Executive Gary Robertson was away on county business in Frankfort but said that he had not gotten any indication previously of the plant closing and that he just had a meeting with Gov. Steve Beshear who was also unaware of the pending closure.