Autopsy evidence led to rape charge in Russell jogger's slaying

bestep@herald-leader.comAugust 30, 2012 

Evidence gathered during an autopsy led to a new rape charge against the man who is charged with murder in the death in June of a Russell County mother of three, Kentucky State Police said.

A grand jury charged Christopher Allman, 28, this week with raping Sarah B. Hart, state police said.

Allman was charged earlier with strangling Hart and hiding her body at the edge of a field alongside U.S. 127 near Jamestown.

Hart, who was about 10 weeks pregnant with her fourth child, had been out for a run with her sister on June 14 when she felt ill and turned back alone to go to her car.

Allman often walked that route on his way to work at an auto-repair shop, and he allegedly attacked Hart when he encountered her.

State police quickly identified Allman as a suspect, in part through security-camera footage, and arrested him the same day. Allman admitted that he attacked Hart in order to rob her, according to the arrest citation.

However, police also suspected that he might have raped Hart, said trooper Billy Gregory, a state police spokesman. That suspicion was confirmed through laboratory reports and continued investigation, Gregory said Thursday.

Medical examiners took samples to test for sexual assault during the autopsy, Russell County Coroner Larry Skaggs said. It can take time to get the results back because the lab is busy, Skaggs said.

Allman also is charged with kidnapping and robbing Hart; with killing her unborn baby, a son; and with being a persistent felony offender. He has a record of convictions in Florida.

He has pleaded not guilty.

Commonwealth's Attorney Matthew Leveridge plans to seek the death penalty if Allman is convicted. If Allman is convicted of rape, that would be an additional aggravating circumstance in the case on which to seek the death penalty, Leveridge said. A trial date has not been set.

Bill Estep: (606) 678-4655. Twitter: @billestep1.

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