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UPDATE: Hung Jury in Aggravated Vehicular Homicide Trial

By: WSAZ News Staff; Andrew Colegrove; Olivia Fecteau Email
By: WSAZ News Staff; Andrew Colegrove; Olivia Fecteau Email

UPDATE 3/28/13 @ 3:45 p.m.
SCIOTO COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) – A jury in Scioto County, Ohio, has failed to reach a verdict on two counts of aggravated vehicular homicide in the trial of a man charged with the death of his girlfriend and their baby in a crash back in July 2011.

The jury found 42-year-old David Harshberger, Jr. guilty on one count of weapon under disability and one count of possession of crack cocaine, but the jury was hung on the two aggravated vehicular homicide charges.

New trial dates will now be set for the aggravated homicide charges.

The Ohio Highway Patrol said Harshberger was driving on Arion Road in McDermott when he went off the road, over an embankment and flipped his SUV.

Harshberger's girlfriend, Samantha Tackett, 30, and their 2-year-old daughter, Delorian, died in the crash. Troopers say their daughter was sitting in her mom's lap and no one was wearing a seat belt. They also said there was a child’s car seat in the back seat that was not being used.

Harshberger, who represented himself in trial, also took the stand Wednesday to testify in his own defense, according to court officials. Earlier, during his opening statement, Harshberger told the court that Tackett was actually the one driving, and he wasn't even in the vehicle.

"It just felt like everybody was out to get me, I know I wasn't driving at the time that the accident happened and it just seemed like all the evidence that I wanted to get," Harshberger said. "My fiancee, she was great, her whole family is from this town. And I've had trouble with the law before, it just didn't seem like there was no way. I felt paranoid, I felt paranoid."

As he waited for the jury's verdict Thursday, Harshberger said he had already lost the case when it all happened almost two years ago.

"I didn't do my job, I was supposed to protect two people and I could've done a better job of that," Harshberger said. "I wasn't guilty of driving the car at the time that it wrecked, but I'm feeling guilty as heck for not protecting who I was supposed to protect."

Harshberger was sentenced to 18 months in jail for the two guilty verdicts, but he has already served 20 months since his arrest, so he will not serve any time for the two counts on which he was convicted.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.



UPDATE 3/28/13 @ 2:50 p.m.
SCIOTO COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- A jury is still deliberating in a case of a man charged with the death of his girlfriend and their baby.

42-year-old David Harshberger Jr. is charged with two counts of aggravated vehicular homicide, two counts of weapon under disability and one count of possession of drugs in connection with a crash that happened back in July 2011.

The Scioto County Jury deliberated for about three hours before leaving Wednesday evening, and have been deliberated since 9 a.m. Thursday.

The Ohio Highway Patrol said Harshberger was driving on Arion Road in McDermott when he went off the road, over an embankment and flipped his SUV.

Harshberger's girlfriend, 30-year-old Samantha Tackett, and their 2-year-old daughter, Delorian, died in the crash. Troopers say their daughter was sitting in her mom's lap and no one was restrained. They also said there was a child’s car seat in the back seat that was not being used.

Harshberger, who is representing himself in trial, also took the stand Wednesday to testify in his own defense, according to court officials.

We spoke with Harshberger in court on Thursday. He said that if he had it to do over, he would have gotten an attorney instead of representing himself.

Harshberger tells WSAZ.com that if he is convicted, he would consider the option of appealing the verdict.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.



UPDATE 3/28/13 @ 9 a.m.
SCIOTO COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- Jury deliberation resume Thursday morning in the the case of a Scioto County man charged with the death of his girlfriend and baby.

42-year-old David Harshberger Jr. is charged with two counts of aggravated vehicular homicide, two counts of weapon under disability and one count of possession of drugs in connection with a crash that happened back in July 2011.

The Ohio Highway Patrol said Harshberger was driving on Arion Road in McDermott when he went off the road, over an embankment and flipped his SUV.

Harshberger's girlfriend, 30-year-old Samantha Tackett, and their 2-year-old daughter, Delorian, died in the crash. Troopers say their daughter was sitting in her mom's lap and no one was restrained. They also said there was a child’s car seat in the back seat that was not being used.

Harshberger, who is representing himself in trial, also took the stand Wednesday to testify in his own defense, according to court officials.

The case went to the jury at about 5:45 p.m. Wednesday and deliberated about three hours before recessing for the night.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 3/27/13 @ 2:30 p.m.
SCIOTO COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) –Closing arguments could start late Wednesday afternoon in the case of a Scioto County man charged with the death of his girlfriend and baby.

42-year-old David Harshberger Jr. is charged with two counts of aggravated vehicular homicide, two counts of weapon under disability and one count of possession of drugs in connection with a crash that happened back in July 2011.

The Ohio Highway Patrol said Harshberger was driving on Arion Road in McDermott when he went off the road, over an embankment and flipped his SUV.

His girlfriend, 30-year-old Samantha Tackett, and their 2-year-old daughter, Delorian, died in the crash. Troopers say their daughter was sitting in her mom's lap and no one was restrained. They also said there was a child’s car seat in the back seat that was not being used.

Harshberger, who is representing himself in trial, also took the stand Wednesday to testify in his own defense, according to court officials.

During his opening statement on Monday, Harshbarger told the court that Tackett was actually the one driving, and he wasn't even in the vehicle

Troopers said that Harshberger was incoherent right after the accident. They said a search of the SUV turned up balloons commonly used to store heroin and more than $600 cash. Then, during a search of his home, troopers say they found crack cocaine, a .22-caliber long rifle and seven prescription bottles containing a total of 286 pills

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 3/26/13 @ 3 p.m.
SCIOTO COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) –Prosecution testimony continued Tuesday for a Scioto County man charged with the death of his girlfriend and baby.

42-year-old David Harshberger Jr. is charged with two counts of aggravated vehicular homicide, two counts of weapon under disability and one count of possession of drugs in connection with a crash that happened back in July 2011.

Harshberger’s trial is taking place in Scioto County Common Pleas Court.

The Ohio Highway Patrol said Harshberger was driving on Arion Road in McDermott when he went off the road, over an embankment and flipped his SUV.

His girlfriend, 30-year-old Samantha Tackett, and their 2-year-old daughter, Delorian, died in the crash. Troopers say their daughter was sitting in her mom's lap and no one was restrained. They also said there was a child’s car seat in the back seat that was not being used.

Harshberger, who is representing himself in trial, told the court during his opening statement Monday that Tackett was actually the one driving, and he wasn't even in the vehicle. He claimed he wasn't high but in shock.

Troopers said that Harshberger was incoherent right after the accident. They said a search of the SUV turned up balloons commonly used to store heroin and more than $600 cash. Then, during a search of his home, troopers say they found crack cocaine, a .22-caliber long rifle and seven prescription bottles containing a total of 286 pills

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 3/25/13 @ 10 p.m.
SCIOTO COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- The defendant in a deadly vehicle accident case is representing himself in court, and he’s making claims that are radically different from what investigators say happened.

David Harshberger Jr. is charged with the deaths of his girlfriend Samantha Tackett and their 2-year-old daughter Delorian.

The victims were ejected and killed in July 2011 when the vehicle they were riding in flipped over an embankment.

Ohio State Highway Patrol Deputies say Harshberger drove off Arion Road in McDermott, and the vehicle overturned.

The prosecution says 42-year-old Harshberger was high on cocaine and oxycodone at the time of the accident.

"I'm innocent of the charges,” Harshberger said. “I'm not innocent in life."

In his opening argument, Harshberger said his girlfriend was actually the one driving, and he wasn't even in the vehicle. He claimed he wasn't high but in shock.

"I think I lost consciousness several times,” Harshberger said. “I was just zoned. They claimed I was high. At that moment I was worse than high."

Lajohna Campbell testified that she drove up to the scene following the accident and saw Harshberger acting erratically.

"One minute he was calm, the next he'd be very irrational, like trying to push the jeep over from the hillside," she said.

When court was dismissed, the defendant talked with WSAZ about his choice to represent himself.

"I'm an idiot,” he said. “I felt my case was truth, and truth should be able to help me out where I'm lacking."

Harshberger is charged with two counts of aggravated vehicular homicide, two counts of having a weapon under disability and one count of possession of drugs.

The trial will get back underway Tuesday.



UPDATE 3/25/13 3:50 p.m.
PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (WSAZ) – With a Bible in one hand, and a small stack of papers in the other, a man walked into Scioto County Common Pleas Court Monday prepared to defend himself.

42-year-old David Harshberger is charged with two counts of aggravated vehicular homicide, two counts of having a weapon under disability and one count of possession of drugs in connection with a crash that killed his girlfriend, Samantha Tackett, 30, and his 2-year-old daughter, Delorian.

The Ohio Highway Patrol said Harshberger was driving on Arion Road in McDermott on July 18, 2011 when he went off the road, over an embankment and flipped his SUV.

Tackett and his daughter were ejected in the crash. Troopers said his daughter was sitting in her mom's lap, and no one was restrained. They also said there was a child’s car seat in the back seat

Following jury selection, jurors visited the accident scene.
Then, during opening statements, the prosecution said Harshberger was under the influence of drugs at the time of the accident.

Harshberger, who is defending himself, told the court in his opening statement that he was not driving, that it was Tackett.

He also said that he was not under the influence and that Tackett tried to run over him at one point.

Troopers said that Harshberger was incoherent right after the accident. They said a search of the SUV turned up balloons commonly used to store heroin and more than $600 cash.

Then, during a search of his home, troopers say they found crack cocaine, a .22-caliber long rifle and seven prescription bottles containing a total of 286 pills.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 3/25/13 @ 11:08 a.m.
SCIOTO COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- Jury selection is underway for a Scioto County man charged with the death of his girlfriend and baby.

42-year-old David Harshberger Jr. is charged with two counts of aggravated vehicular homicide, two counts of weapon under disability and one count of possession of drugs in connection with a crash that happened back in July 2011.

Harshberger’s trial is taking place in Scioto County Common Pleas Court.

The Ohio Highway Patrol said Harshberger was driving on Arion Road in McDermott when he went off the road, over an embankment and flipped his SUV.

His girlfriend, 30-year-old Samantha Tackett, and their 2-year-old daughter, Delorian, died in the crash. Troopers say their daughter was sitting in her mom's lap and no one was restrained. They also said there was a child’s car seat in the back seat that was not being used.

Troopers said that Harshberger was incoherent right after the accident. They said a search of the SUV turned up balloons commonly used to store heroin and more than $600 cash. Then, during a search of his home, troopers say they found crack cocaine, a .22-caliber long rifle and seven prescription bottles containing a total of 286 pills.

Court officials tell WSAZ.com that Harshbarger is representing himself in the trial.

Jurors are expected to visit the accident site Monday afternoon before openings statements are presented

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 8/24/11 @ 3 p.m.
SCIOTO COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- The man charged in connection with the death of his girlfriend and baby has been indicted.

The Scioto County Grand Jury indicted David Harshberger, Jr. in connection with the deadly accident.

Harshberger is being charged with two counts of aggravated vehicular homicide, two counts of weapon under disability and one count of possession of drugs.

Back in July, Harshberger was driving a Jeep Liberty on Arion Road in McDermott when he went off the road, over an embankment and flipped the car.

His girlfriend, 30-year-old Samantha Tackett, and the couple's 2-year-old daughter, Delorian, died in the crash. Troopers say the daughter was in mom's lap -- and no one was restrained -- as the child's car seat sat empty in the back seat

The grand jury met on August 19 and unsealed the indictment on August 24.



UPDATE 7/22/11 @ 1:15 p.m.
SCIOTO COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- The man charged in the death of his girlfriend and baby was in court Friday for his preliminary hearing.

David Harshberger Jr.’s case was sent to a grand jury following a hearing Friday in Portsmouth Municipal Court.

On Monday, Harshberger was driving a Jeep Liberty on Arion Road in McDermott when he went off the road, over an embankment and flipped the car.

His girlfriend, 30-year-old Samantha Tackett and the couple's 2-year-old daughter Delorian, died in the crash. Troopers say the daughter was in mom's lap -- and no one was restrained -- as the child's car seat sat empty in the back seat

Harshberger, 40, is charged with two counts of aggravated vehicular homicide. Troopers with the Ohio Highway Patrol say he was incoherent right after the accident. A search of the car turned up balloons commonly used to store heroin and more than $600 cash.

Troopers say a search of Harshberger's home turned up crack cocaine, a .22-caliber long rifle and seven prescription bottles containing a total of 286 pills. Troopers say drug charges are pending.

Harshberger remains in jail on $40,000 bond.



UPDATE 7/19/11 @ 5:05 p.m.
SCIOTO COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- It was a tragic case of a mother in the passenger seat with her daughter in her lap and a father driving under the influence.

Mother and child are dead after a low-speed rollover crash that's being investigated as a double homicide and drug case. Police say these two fatalities never should have happened.

Troopers out of the Lucasville Ohio Highway Patrol post say their scene pictures show that just after 8 a.m. Monday, David Harshberger Jr. was driving a Jeep Liberty on Arion Road in McDermott when he went off the road, over an embankment and flipped the car

The driver’s girlfriend, 30-year-old Samantha Tackett and the couple's 2-year-old daughter Delorian, died in the crash. Troopers say the daughter was in mom's lap -- and no one was restrained -- as the child's car seat sat empty in the back seat.

Harshberger, 40, was jailed and charged with two counts of aggravated vehicular homicide. Troopers say he was incoherent right after the deadly rollover. They say he was mumbling, and then he would fall asleep. The troopers say a search of the car turned up balloons commonly used to store heroin and more than $600 cash.

Troopers say a search of Harshberger's home turned up crack cocaine, a .22-caliber long rifle and seven prescription bottles containing a total of 286 pills. Troopers say drug charges are pending.

Volunteer first responders that were at the scene of the accident met Monday night for stress and trauma debriefing and counseling. All of them agonizing are over two deaths that -- all involved say -- did not have to happen.

David Harshberger Jr. is jailed on a $40,000 bond. His preliminary hearing is set for Friday.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 7/19/11 @ 9:45 p.m.
SCIOTO COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- The driver of a car involved in a fatal crash that killed and mother and daughter now faces criminal charges.

Lt. Karla Taulbee with the Ohio Highway Patrol tells WSAZ.com that David Harsberger 40, has been charged with two counts of aggravated vehicular homicide. Harshberger is expected to be arraigned on the charges Tuesday morning.

Troopers say Samantha Tackett, 30, was holding her 2-year-old daughter, Delorian in her lap when Harshberger lost control and hit an embankment, flipping the car on its side.

Both Tackett and the child were ejected from the car and pronounced dead at the scene.

On Monday, Taulbee told WSAZ.com that drugs or alcohol may have been a factor in the crash.

No one in the car was wearing a seat belt, and there was a car seat in the back seat, according to investigators

David Harshberger was the child's father and Tackett was his girlfriend.



UPDATE 7/18/11 @ 2:55 p.m.
SCIOTO COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- A mother and daughter have been killed in an accident in Scioto County, Ohio.

Lt. Karla Taulbee with the Ohio Highway Patrol tells WSAZ.com that Samantha Tackett, 30, was holding her 2-year-old daughter in her lap when the driver of the car lost control and hit an embankment, flipping the car on its side.

Both Tackett and the child were ejected from the car

The single vehicle accident happened along Arion Road just past the intersection of Carpenter Road in the McDermott area. It was reported at 7:48 a.m. Monday.

The driver of the car, David Harshberger, 40, was not hurt, but charges are pending, according Lt.Taulbee.

Taulbee also say drugs or alcohol may have been a factor in the crash.

No one in the car was wearing a seat belt, and there was a car seat in the back seat, according to investigators.

Troopers are not releasing the name of the child.



UPDATE 7/18/11 @ 12:20 p.m.
SCIOTO COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- A mother and child have been killed in an accident in Scioto County, Ohio.

The Ohio Highway Patrol tells WSAZ.com that the child was sitting on the mother's lap in the front seat of the car while driving down Arion Road.

The names are not being released at this time.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



ORIGINAL STORY 7/18/11
SCIOTO COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- Two people have been killed in a single vehicle crash in Scioto County, Ohio.

The Ohio Highway Patrol tells WSAZ.com the crash happened along Arion Road just past the intersection with Carpenter Road in the McDermott area. It was reported at 7:48 a.m. Monday.

No details of the crash have been released. Troopers are still on the scene.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for updated information.


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