Allan Anthony Little is a free man once again, after spending the past week behind bars in Catawba County, North Carolina accused of murder. On Tuesday morning, prosecutors dropped all of the criminal charges Little was facing after being arrested for stabbing 37-year-old Cory Hartness at a strip mall in Hickory, North Carolina back on March 13th.
I’m honestly surprised that Little was ever charged to begin with given the circumstances of the case and the testimony of eyewitnesses, who told authorities that Little wasn’t the initial aggressor in the encounter between the two men.
The assault charge was issued shortly after the stabbing occurred. At the time, Cory Hartness had been transported to the hospital with life-threatening injuries. The murder charge was issued after Hartness died.
On March 13, Tealisa White, an eyewitness, described what she saw. White said she was heading to the New Season Hickory Metro Treatment Center when she saw the confrontation between Hartness and Little.
White said she saw a white man attack a Black man with a knife in the parking lot.
White said she saw the Black man disarm the white man. She said the Black man went to the treatment center to call for help. White said the Black man was acting in self-defense.
The district attorney’s office agreed that Little was acting in self-defense after reviewing video footage and witness statements and talking with the Hickory Police Department, according to court records.
That’s great, but why didn’t the prosecutor hold off on filing charges until after they had reviewed all of the evidence, especially since their main witness said that Little was only acting to protect himself? Instead of finishing their investigation and then deciding whether to file charges, it sounds like prosecutors took a leap of faith in Little’s guilt only to have to back down later.
Cory Andrew Hartness, 37, died as a result of his injuries from the altercation, the Hickory Police Department said in a news release.
Before Little was brought into the courtroom, at least 10 bailiffs spread out around the courtroom. Bailiffs were stationed along the walls, entryways and aisle.
District Court Judge Scott Conrad informed Little that he had the right to remain silent during the hearing. Little uttered few words, aside from requesting a court-appointed attorney. Victoria Jayne was appointed to represent Little temporarily.
Conrad informed Little that the maximum penalty for the murder charge could be the death penalty or life without parole if Little were to be found guilty.
Conrad did not adjust Little’s bond during the hearing. Little is being held without bond for the murder charge and on a $50,000 bond for the assault charge.
A probable cause hearing for Little’s case was scheduled for April 4.
Well, Little won’t have to show up for that hearing now that the charges against him have been dismissed. Kudos to Little’s court-appointed attorney for her handling of the case, as well as the eyewitness for providing authorities with her account of what actually happened in the strip mall parking lot last week. Authorities still haven’t said what led Hartness to initially attack Little, but at least they now recognize that he shouldn’t be facing life in prison or the possibility of being put to death for protecting himself from a violent encounter with a knife-wielding suspect.