(HUTCHINSON, Kan.) — "I didn't do this. I didn't do this." Accused killer Charles Logsdon ranted about his innocence in court this week during a first appearance with co-defendant Billy Joe Craig Jr.
Months from now a jury will decide if the two men are guilty of gunning down a Hutchinson wife and mother. Jennifer Heckel, 27, was shot to death while home with her young son in June. Prosecutors have said her killers targeted the wrong person and the wrong house.
For Logsdon, it's not the first time he's been charged with shooting someone.
Deanna Davis-Harbacek says Logsdon shot her husband, Eric Harbacek, in the knee during a disagreement last November. Reno County Court records show Logsdon was charged with aggravated battery a month later.
Eric Harbacek has a criminal past of his own, including convictions 20 years ago for aggravated burglary and aggravated assault. Mrs. Harbacek thinks that may have kept the Reno County District Attorney's Office from handling his case as seriously as others.
"In my heart I think that they did not do anything about it because it's Eric. And I think that's crap," she says.
The case against Logsdon was dismissed in April. Two months later, Heckel was murdered.
"When I saw it on the news that night that this girl had been shot and her 5 year-old child was there ... I have a 2 year-old and a 15 year-old and if somebody walked in my house at shot me what would my children go through? This little kid is going to have to remember this the rest of his life. And I'm mad that they could have maybe prevented it."
Court records show the reason for the dismissal was the victim (Harbacek) had twice failed to show up and testify. Mrs. Harbacek insists that's not true and says her husband was there twice only to see the case continued.
According to Reno County, subpoenas were attached to Harbacek's door on four separate occasions. But Mrs. Harbacek says she only received one. That one was actually sent in error with an incorrect appearance date.
"He wouldn't have been on the street. He wouldn't have been free to have concocted whatever he did with whoever he did. And this girl, she may very well still be alive," Davis-Harbacek says.
Reno Co. District Attorney Keith Schroeder declined an on camera interview for this story. He did say there were concerns about the strength of the aggravated battery case from the start partly because of victim's own criminal past (Harbacek has burglary and assault convictions from 1991). Schroeder blamed Harbacek for the dismissal...
"It would have been nice if they (Harbaceks) would have cooperated with the first prosecution," Schroeder says. "They can point fingers, but the bottom line is they didn't show up." "If the portrayal is that we didn't take the case seriously, that's false."
Logsdon was a free man until August, when court records show he was once again charged with the aggravated battery against Harbacek. Schroeder says Logsdon's name came up in the Heckel case so his office re-filed to have Logsdon in custody, while the murder investigation continued. He also says the aggravated battery case was bolstered because Harbacek was back in custody on a parole violation and would now be available to testify.