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UPDATE: Woman Freed After Overturned Murder Conviction Faces More Trouble

By: WSAZ News Staff Email
By: WSAZ News Staff Email

UPDATE 8/7/12 @ 10:20 a.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A woman whose murder conviction was overturned by the W.Va. Supreme Court was back in court Tuesday to plead guilty to an unrelated drug charge.

In 2007, Tanya Harden was convicted of murder in the shooting death of her husband, Tommy. The shooting happened at their home in Culloden in 2004.

Harden told police she had been abused, and it was self defense.

In June 2009, the court ruled there was evidence of abuse, and that information negated Harden’s crime. Following the ruling, she was released from prison.

Last August, Harden was arrested during a warrant roundup in Cabell County. She was charged with trying to obtain prescription medications under false pretenses.

Tuesday during a hearing in Cabell County Circuit Court, Harden pleaded guilty to attempting to commit a felony.

She will be sentenced in October.



UPDATE 6/8/10 @ 6:30 p.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- She was a convicted killer until a Supreme Court decision overturned the ruling, making her not guilty of the shooting death of her husband. For the last year, Tanya Harden has been a free woman, now she wants her record cleaned.

And what Harden and her attorney hoped would be an easy "Yes" turned into a pretty quick "No." But, talking to the media for the first time since her release, Harden says this whole experience has changed her in so many ways.

"It's not like spitting on the sidewalk or driving on a suspended license," Cabell County Circuit Judge Al Ferguson said. "It's a murder conviction, although it's no longer a conviction. But there was a person who died as a result of her actions that night. I'll deny it at this time."

And within minutes, Harden’s hearing to get her record expunged, or cleared, of the murder arrest was over.

Harden was convicted in 2007 of murdering her husband, Danual Harden. He was asleep at the time, but Tanya said she feared for her life after a night of violent beatings that left her nose broken and face black and blue.

But a jury found Harden guilty of first-degree murder, sending her to prison until last year. After she spent about two years behind bars, the state Supreme Court overturned the conviction and Harden was freed.

"You lived in a little tiny box," she said. "You couldn't do nothing. I took GED classes, didn't get a GED, but mastered in culinary arts, bread baking, dog training for autistic children."

Harden continued, "I got my mommy now and I got my aunt. I got her and I got my kids, so I can walk now with my head above my shoulders and not look behind me to make sure someone's not coming."

Tanya says she owes much of that to her new girlfriend, Shadoe Johnson.

"It took awhile for her to hold her head up high, but with me telling her, 'You're a beautiful person, you did what you had to do, you had no choice, so look past that and move on,' " Johnson said.

Harden is a manager at a Taco Bell in Kanawha County, but is getting transferred to a Putnam County store. She says she tired of working fast food, but needs a clean record to be able to get a better job.

Harden plans to appeal this decision to the Supreme Court and is hopeful she'll still get her record cleared.



UPDATE 6/8/10 @ 11:30 a.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Her murder conviction was overturned, now Tanya Harden wants her record expunged in order to make a better life for herself. Harden was in court Tuesday morning to make the request, but like her murder conviction, it was overturned.

Harden was convicted of murder back in 2007 when she shot her husband while he slept. She said it was in self-defense following a night of violent beatings that broke her nose and blackened her eyes.

Judge Al Ferguson considered the request this morning in Cabell County court. Cabell County Prosecutor, Chris Chiles, said regardless of the case being overturned by the Supreme Court last year, the charge was still too serious to wipe it away, Judge Ferguson agreed and denied her request.

Harden plans on taking her request to the Supreme Court.



ORIGINAL STORY 6/4/09
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A woman from Cabell County is being released from prison.

The West Virginia Supreme Court threw out the conviction for the murder of her husband in 2004. Under the decision, Tanya Harden will not be retried for the death of her husband Danny.

Harden testified at her trial in 2007 that her husband beat her with his fists and a gun for hours, before she shot him.

"I shot him. I feared for my life and my children's and another little girl," Tanya Harden testified.

Harden was serving a life sentence with the possibility of parole after 15 years.

Thursday, the Supreme Court ruled 4-1 to overturn the conviction, saying in part the prosecution did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Harden did not act in self-defense.


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