Attorney: Sumter Co. DA under investigation before self-inflicte - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Attorney: Sumter Co. DA under investigation before self-inflicted death

Sumter County D.A. Plez Hardin (Source: WALB File) Sumter County D.A. Plez Hardin (Source: WALB File)
Law enforcement presences was heavy on East Allen Street on Sunday afternoon. (Source: WALB) Law enforcement presences was heavy on East Allen Street on Sunday afternoon. (Source: WALB)
Plez Hardin, Southwest Judicial Circuit District Attorney was found dead in his truck in a backyard of an unoccupied home. (Source: WALB) Plez Hardin, Southwest Judicial Circuit District Attorney was found dead in his truck in a backyard of an unoccupied home. (Source: WALB)
According to GBI, an autopsy is set for Monday, at the GBI Crime lab in Macon. (Source:WALB) According to GBI, an autopsy is set for Monday, at the GBI Crime lab in Macon. (Source:WALB)
GBI is still investigating this case as of Sunday night. (Source: WALB) GBI is still investigating this case as of Sunday night. (Source: WALB)
SUMTER CO., GA (WALB) -

The personal attorney for Sumter County District Attorney Plez Hardin confirms Hardin was the subject of a federal investigation when he died Sunday.

Officials with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said that the preliminary autopsy shows Hardin died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot, between 1 and 2:30 Sunday afternoon. They said that a note was found at the scene.

Pete Donaldson, Hardin's attorney, confirmed that Hardin was the subject of a federal investigation out of the Southern District of Georgia U.S. Attorney's Office in Savannah. 

Donaldson said no charges had been filed against Hardin. 

But Donaldson said the Southern District was handling the investigation to avoid a conflict of interest.

Donaldson would not comment if Hardin had a court date scheduled, nor talk about what was the subject of the investigation into Hardin. 

We asked to speak with Southern District Federal Officials this afternoon about Hardin but were told they were in a meeting. They have not returned our calls or messages.

Donaldson confirmed to us that investigators indicated to him Hardin left several notes to different people. 

GBI investigators say someone found Hardin dead in his truck in the backyard of an unoccupied home on E. Allen Street just before 2:30 p.m. Sunday.

Community Reaction

Sunday evening many people in the Sumter County community didn't want to talk on camera because they were puzzled and deeply saddened that such a high profile person died right in their community.

"You don't normally hear about DAs passing away very much," said Jonathan Gibson, a Sumter County resident.  

Gibson has lived in Americus for years. He said when he heard Hardin was found dead Sunday afternoon, it was a shock not only to him but the entire county. 

"It's always hard losing a family member no matter who it is. I mean I know some people out there probably don't like DAs or anything like that but I mean they're still people just like us," said Gibson. 

Leslie's police chief got the call around 2:22 pm that someone found Hardin dead in his truck in the backyard of an unoccupied house on East Allen Street. 
When officers got there, the GBI said they found the 48-year-old with a single gunshot wound to his chest. 

"I think it kind of hurts the system because a lot of people knew him through the court system stuff rather it be good or bad but I think that it does kind of hurt the court system," said Gibson.  

Not only is the jurisdiction feeling hurt during this investigation, but residents in this tight-knit county are also feeling for Hardin's loved ones.

"I give my condolences to his family and I hope that they appreciated the life that he had while he was here and hopefully they can be able to move on pretty well after this," said Gibson. 

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