Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Filed by Man Accused of Killing Wife

By: Eyewitness News, Lanetra Bennett, Julie Montanaro, Angelica Alvarez Email
By: Eyewitness News, Lanetra Bennett, Julie Montanaro, Angelica Alvarez Email

[UPDATE] March 29, 2012 - Tallahassee

A Tallahassee man who was arrested and later cleared in the death of this wife, lost his lawsuit against the city.

Richard Kelly Harte was suing police claiming he should never have been arrested.

He was suing the City of Tallahassee, Police Chief Dennis Jones and Investigator Jeff Mahoney for violating his civil rights. But a federal judge ruled police did have probable cause to arrest him and dismissed the suit.

The attorney representing the city says the dismissal was a relief for Mahoney and the force.

"Investigator Mahoney had nine independent witnesses who all testified consistently, that Mrs. Harte the victim, had confided in them that Mr. Harte had abused her," said Attorney Michael Spellman.

No one has since been arrested for the murder of Barbara Harte.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

UPDATED 3.28.2012 by Julie Montanaro

A Tallahassee man who was arrested - and later cleared - in the death of his wife lost his lawsuit against the city today.

Richard Kelley Harte sued police claiming he should never have been arrested in the death of his wife Barbara.

She was found dead in the bathtub back in 2006.

Harte sued the city for violating his civil rights and sought damages for the subsequent loss of his copy business.

A federal judge ruled today that Tallahassee Police did have probable cause to arrest him and dismissed the suit.

Michael Spellman represented the city in the lawsuit.

Harte's attorney, David Moye, sent this statement:

"We certainly respect Judge Hinkle and respect the fact he is duty-bound to apply the law to the facts as presented. The issue before the court was simply what material facts, regardless of whether true or false, did TPD personnel have available for consideration when the decision was made to go to Kelley Harte’s home and arrest him."

"It is our belief many of the material facts of which TPD was aware, and which TPD left out of the affidavit it provided to the Judge in support of its request for an arrest warrant, reflected there was no probable cause to arrest Kelley Harte."

"The Harte family, although very disappointed, would like to express their gratitude and thanks to those family members and close friends in the Tallahassee area who have supported them throughout this difficult period and remain committed to rebuilding their family."
------------------------------------------------------------------
[UPDATE] Tallahassee, Florida -March 28, 2012 by Julie Montanaro

A U.S. district judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by a Tallahassee man accused of killing his wife.

Richard Kelley Harte sued the Tallahassee Police Department for false arrest in connection with the death of his wife, Barbara.

The civil suit was scheduled to go to trial in May of this year.

This morning, Judge Robert Hinkle granted the City of Tallahassee's request for summary judgment, saying police did have probable cause to arrest Harte at the time.

Criminal charges against Harte were dropped soon after his arrest in March 2007.

We are attempting to contact attorneys for both sides.

______________________________________

Tallahassee, Florida - July 18, 2011 [UPDATE]

A Tallahassee man is suing the Tallahassee Police Department and the City of Tallahassee.

His attorney says Richard Kelley Harte shouldn't have been arrested for killing his wife four years ago.

An attorney has filed a lawsuit against the City of Tallahassee, Chief Dennis Jones, and Jeff Mahoney of the Tallahassee Police Department.

He says Richard Kelley Harte should not have been arrested for the death of Harte's wife.

Back on November 19, 2006, Harte's wife, Barbara, wad found dead next to their bathtub.

In March 2007, Harte was charged with drowning her. The charges were dropped six weeks later... but Harte's attorney says his client never would have been arrested if investigator Mahoney didn't leave out relevant information.

Harte's Attorney David Moye says, "For example, one of the witnesses stated that less than three months prior to her death, Mrs. Harte was observed in her jacuzzi bathtub and she was unconscious under water. Actually the words used, she was out of it. The person thought she was dead. Fortunately that was not the case."

The complaint says the investigator also misrepresented information when he wrote in the report that "the medical examiner advised the bruising on the victim was consistent with her having been in a recent struggle."

Moye says the autopsy in no way references a struggle with anyone.

Lewis Shelley Assistant to Attorney says, "I'm sure that once all the facts are known in this case and we've reviewed the case, it will be determined that the investigator's representation of what were the critical and crucial facts were all included."

Tallahassee, Florida - July 18, 2011 -

A man once charged with the murder of his wife is now suing the lead investigator and the City of Tallahassee.

Richard Kelley Harte was arrested in March 2007 and the charges were later dropped. Richard Kelley Hart was accused of drowning his wife.

Eyewitness News got a copy of the complaint that was filed with the Leon County Clerk's Office. The suit is against the City, Tallahassee Police Chief Dennis Jones and Investigator Mahoney.

Richard Kelley Harte was accused of drowning his wife, Barbie, in their bathtub. He was held without bond back in 2007 and spent six weeks in jail.

Harte's attorney called the case "flimsy and stale" and his brother vowed Harte would be cleared. Harte was cleared. The Tallahassee Police Department later dropped the charges against Harte.

Stay with WCTV for more on this story.


Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
powered by Disqus
WCTV 1801 Halstead Blvd. Tallahassee, FL 32309
Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 125751498 - wctv.tv/a?a=125751498
Gray Television, Inc.