GRESHAM, Ore. – A Gresham man convicted of beating his girlfriend to death with the legs of a coffee table will serve about eight years in prison, according to KGW news partner The Oregonian.
John Coleman Hardaway was initially charged with aggravated murder after Barbara Smalley suffered a fatal brain injury in a domestic dispute, police said.
On May 20, Gresham police received the report of a disturbance in the 17700 block of E. Burnside Street and arrived to find Smalley, 58, in the apartment with serious head injuries, according to Officer John Rasmussen. Smalley was taken to Legacy Emanuel Hospital, where she later died.
The newspaper reports prosecutors probably would not have been allowed to tell jurors about a 1997 first-degree manslaughter conviction that Hardaway served 14 years for, and because Hardaway was "highly intoxicated" at the time he killed his girlfriend, it would have been difficult to gain a conviction for aggravated murder.