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Gresham man accused of aggravated murder

by: Contributed photo John Coleman Hardaway

A Gresham man with a previous conviction for manslaughter is now accused of aggravated murder in the recent death of his live-in girlfriend.

John Coleman Hardaway, 45, is being held without bail at the Multnomah County Inverness Jail on an allegation of aggravated murder and for allegedly violating his parole on a 1997 manslaughter.

At 9:26 p.m. Friday, May 20, Gresham police responded to a report of a disturbance in the 17700 block of East Burnside Street and found Barbara Nadine Smalley, 58, of Gresham unconscious in the apartment's living room, said Officer John Rasmussen, Gresham police spokesman.

An ambulance transported her to Legacy Emanuel Hospital and Health Center for emergency surgery on a traumatic brain injury. She died May 28 of blunt-force head trauma, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Police talked to Hardaway, who answered the door three minutes after police began knocking and announcing their presence. An officer immediately saw an unconscious and injured woman lying on the floor directly behind Hardaway. The officer also noted a badly damaged wooden coffee table with four broken legs near Smalley's body.

The neighbor who called police said she heard a woman being beaten for 30 minutes before calling 9-1-1. She heard a woman yelling 'No, no,' screaming and sounds of choking. Shortly before police arrived, she heard a final 'bang' sound.

Officers arrested Hardaway at 10:38 p.m. on a detainer warrant issued by his parole officer for violating the terms of his parole.

On Friday, June 3, he was arraigned on a charge of aggravated murder for Smalley's death, said Don Rees, the deputy district attorney prosecuting the case.

Rees said Hardaway was convicted of fatally shooting a man in the face on Feb. 28, 1997, in Multnomah County and sentenced to 15 years in prison. He was released about a year ago.