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Man who killed girlfriend to get 8 years

A 46-year-old Gresham man will be sentenced next week to more than eight years in prison for killing his girlfriend.

John C. Hardaway pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter and first-degree assault on Wednesday, Jan. 2, before Multnomah County District Court Judge Eric J. Bergstrom, said Prosecutor Annie Shoen.

John HardawayDetectives with the East County Major Crimes Team arrested Hardaway on May 20, 2011, after responding to a 9-1-1 call from a neighbor reporting a disturbance in the 17700 block of East Burnside Street.

Hardaway answered the door three minutes after police began knocking on the door and announcing their presence. An officer immediately saw an unconscious and injured woman lying on the living room floor directly behind Hardaway. They also saw pieces of a broken wooden coffee table, including the table legs, near the woman.

Paramedics rushed Barbara Nadine Smalley, 58, of Gresham to a hospital, where she had emergency surgery for a traumatic brain injury. She died eight days later of blunt-force head trauma.

The neighbor who called 9-1-1 told police she heard a woman being beaten for 30 minutes before calling police. She heard a woman yell, “No, no,” as well as heard screaming and choking sounds. Just before police arrived, the neighbor heard one final “bang” sound.

Medical examiners ruled the death a homicide. Police believe Hardaway threw the woman onto the coffee table, breaking it, and then beat her with the table legs.

Police arrested Hardaway the day of the killing and he was lodged into the Multnomah County Detention Center on a warrant for violating his parole for manslaughter in the 1996 death of a Portland man, who Hardaway shot in the face.

In that case, Hardaway also made a plea deal. Instead of risking being found guilty of murder, Hardaway pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter and was sentenced to 14 years in prison. He'd been out for about a year when he was arrested for the aggravated murder of Smalley.

If convicted of aggravated murder, Hardaway could have faced the death penalty as a possible sentence. By pleading guilty to the lesser charges of second-degree manslaughter and assault, he avoids the death penalty.

Hardaway will be formally sentenced on Thursday, Jan. 10, to 100 months, or eight years and four months, in prison.



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