Prosecutor to seek death penalty in killing of pregnant jogger

bestep@herald-leader.comJuly 26, 2012 

The prosecutor in Russell County plans to seek the death penalty against a man charged with killing a pregnant woman during her morning run last month.

Commonwealth's Attorney Matthew Leveridge filed a motion Thursday declaring his intent to seek the death penalty against Christopher W. Allman if a jury convicts him.

Allman, 28, is charged with strangling Sarah B. Hart to death on June 14 and hiding her body at the edge of a field off U.S. 127 near Jamestown.

Hart, 31, had been on an early-morning run with her sister when she turned back because she wasn't feeling well. Her sister continued running.

Allman, who often walked to work along the route, allegedly killed Hart during an attempt to rob her.

He is charged with murder, kidnapping, robbery and tampering with physical evidence — a charge that arises from the effort to hide Hart's body.

Hart, a pharmacist, was pregnant with her fourth child. Allman is charged in the death of the unborn baby as well.

State law requires that a homicide include certain aggravating circumstances in order for the death penalty to be an option.

One such circumstance is committing a robbery as part of a murder. A kidnapping in which the victim is not released alive is another.

Those were among the aggravating circumstances listed in his notice in Allman's case, Leveridge said.

Russell Circuit Clerk Tony Kerr said Leveridge also filed notice of intent to use as evidence incriminating statements Allman made to police. The arrest citation said Allman admitted killing Hart.

Allman has pleaded not guilty.

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