Jury finds ex-deputy guilty in girlfriend’s murder

DENTON, TX – A Texas jury recently convicted Jay Allen Rotter, a former deputy of Tarrant County, for the murder of his girlfriend, Leslie Lynn Hartman, who was wheelchair-bound. Rotter, who had served 30 years as a sheriff’s deputy since 2005, was part of the narcotics division at the time of Hartman’s death.

Initially, Rotter claimed Hartman’s death was a suicide, according to the Denton County Criminal District Attorney’s Office and the Denton Police Department. According to a warrant, following the shooting incident in August 2020, Rotter had dialed 911, stating that Hartman, 46, had used his service weapon to shoot herself in the head while they were in an embrace.

Rotter also mentioned on the call that the incident occurred while they were watching TV on his computer, and Hartman had grabbed his service weapon and fired it. He expressed that he was unable to stop her, and she was already deceased when he made the call.

However, a chatroom app revealed a different story where Rotter confessed to shooting Hartman himself. The warrant quoted his message, “I just sent a nine millie in this f—in’ hippie.” Investigators later associated the ‘hippie’ comment with Hartman, referring to her eco-friendly lifestyle and love for nature and psychedelic drugs.

On arriving at the crime scene, officers discovered Hartman’s lifeless body next to her wheelchair. Bloodstains were found on Rotter and scattered throughout their home. In addition to the murder charge, Rotter was accused of possession of felony drugs and tampering with evidence.

During the police interrogation, Rotter refused to hand over his cell phone and reset it to factory settings while alone in the room. Despite this, investigators seized his phone and computer, which contained text messages and other communications that served as crucial evidence leading to his conviction.

Among the messages, Hartman had expressed her discontent with Rotter’s drug use, which had led to disagreements between them. Rotter had also documented their arguments on the chatroom app Discord, where he had confessed to the murder. The day after his conviction, the jury sentenced him to 30 years in prison for the 2020 shooting of Hartman.