Leslie Lynn Hartman was found shot to death in late August

By Chris Harris
September 17, 2020 11:16 AM
Leslie Lynn Hartman
| Credit: Facebook

Texas authorities have arrested one of their own, filing murder and evidence tampering charges Monday against a 36-year-old sheriff's deputy accused of killing his girlfriend and lying to investigators, telling them she had died by suicide.

PEOPLE obtained a copy of the arrest warrant against Tarrant County Sheriff's Department Deputy Jay Allen Rotter.

On Aug. 26, Denton Police were called to the home Rotter shared with his girlfriend, 46-year-old Leslie Lynn Hartman, who was paralyzed and used a wheelchair

Rotter, the warrant alleges, had called 911, claiming Hartman had used his service weapon to fatally shoot herself in the head.

During the call, he allegedly said she was dead, and that he would have stopped her if he could have.

Officers arrived to find Hartman's lifeless body on the floor beside her wheelchair. The responding officers noted there was blood on Rotter and in the bathroom, living room and hallway of the home.

The arrest warrant alleges that Rotter told investigators Hartman shot herself in the head while the two were hugging in their bedroom, while watching a television series on his computer.

The warrant indicates detectives handling the case searched the home and recovered physical evidence that led to the charges, approved by a judge on Friday.

Jay Allen Rotter
| Credit: Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office

According to the warrant, Rotter was interviewed by police at the station house immediately after Hartman's death and allegedly refused to turn over his cell phone to police.

The warrant alleges that, while he was in the interrogation room alone, Rotter manipulated his phone, returning it to its original factory settings. But investigators eventually seized the phone and a computer from the couple's home.

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Text messages between the couple appear to indicate Hartman was displeased with Rotter's alleged drug use.

The warrant alleges that, using a chatroom app called Discord, Rotter allegedly wrote that Hartmann was upset with him for shooting a bottle of milk in their backyard. Not long before he called 911, Rotter allegedly wrote to the chatroom, "I just sent a 9 millie in this f---in' hippie."

According to the warrant, detectives believe this was a reference to Hartman, in light of her "lifestyle as a person who is eco-friendly, nature lover and her use of psychedelic drugs."

Rotter is being held on a $1,150,000 bond.

It wasn't clear Thursday if he had entered pleas to the charges against him.

He has yet to retain an attorney who could comment on the allegations for him.

The Tarrant County Sheriff's Office issued the following a statement on the arrest, saying, "We are shocked and saddened about the incident and arrest of Jay Rotter. We have very little information regarding the situation at this time. We believe in the criminal justice process and the truth will prevail. The Denton Police Department, in Denton County, is the arresting agency and the investigation is on-going. Rotter has been employed with TCSO since 2005 and assigned to the narcotics division. We are cooperating with Denton PD and all questions regarding the case should be directed to them at 940-349-8181."