Texas sheriff's deputy murdered his disabled girlfriend and called 911 claiming she shot herself, police say
When authorities questioned the deputy, he refused to give his cellphone to authorities and restored it to factory settings when he was alone in the interview room
A 36-year-old sheriff's deputy from North Texas was arrested and charged with murder on Monday, September 14, for allegedly killing his girlfriend and then claiming she killed herself. Tarrant County Sheriff's deputy Jay Allen Rotter was arrested by officers in Denton and has also been charged with evidence tampering.
An investigation into the case was initiated after Rotter's girlfriend, 46-year-old Leslie Lynn Hartman, was found dead on August 26. Rotter, on the day of her death, called 911 around 11:34 pm and reported that his girlfriend had shot herself at their home in Robinwood Lane, Denton, according to police. When authorities questioned the deputy, he refused to give his cellphone to authorities and restored it to factory settings when he was alone in the interview room.
Detectives later seized Rotter's phone and computer from the couple's home and conducted forensic downloads of the data on both the devices, according to reports. Text messages recovered from the deputy's phone showed a conversation between him and Hartman where she said that he was in a "mood" and "would need to sort himself out tonight due to the fact Rotter is having trouble with the amount of drugs he was consuming," the affidavit stated.
Data recovered from Rotter's computer showed that he was active on an instant messaging platform called Discord, where he talked about shooting a "milk bomb" with his gun and later referred to shooting a "hippie." Detectives believe by "hippie," he was referring to Hartman. The deputy, at 11:08 pm, also posted a picture of himself holding a Glock pistol after shooting the "milk bomb." Investigators also found a shot milk carton in the house with a shell casing in the backyard.
Rotter's Discord chat showed that he and Hartman, at 11:13 pm, were fighting about him firing the gun in the backyard and at 11:14 pm, he allegedly wrote a message, saying: "I just sent a 9 millie in this f***in hippie." Authorities believe he was referring to Hartman and her "lifestyle as a person who is eco-friendly, nature lover, and her use of psychedelic drugs." Rotter reportedly called 911 at around 11:34 pm and said "she is done" and he "would have stopped her if he could have."
Hartman's neighbors expressed shock over her tragic death, and said that she was a happy, outgoing person. One neighbor Chrissie Clanton said: "She was artistic, a good neighbor, loved animals. She had actually just adopted a new puppy, so it didn't add up," according to the Daily Mail. The neighbors said Harman was also largely independent despite a car accident years ago leaving her unable to walk.
Rotter reportedly worked in the narcotics division and has been with the sheriff's office since 2005. Sheriff Bill Waybourn reportedly issued a statement over the incident, saying that he and his staff were "shocked and saddened. We believe in the criminal justice process and the truth will prevail." The deputy is currently being held on $1.15 million bond in the Denton County Jail.