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Convicted Cop Killer Commits Suicide In Georgia Prison

Grovetown, GA – The convicted cop killer who murdered murdering Polk County Police Department (PCPD) Detective Kristen Hearne during an ambush in 2017 committed suicide in prison on Thanksgiving.

Seth Brandon Spangler was sentenced to life in prison without parole in March in connection with 29-year-old Det. Hearne’s murder, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

The killer took a plea deal to escape the possibility of the death penalty, according to The Polk County Standard Journal.

The slain detective’s family supported the plea agreement in the interest of “closure and finality,” prosecutors said at the time.

Spangler’s attorney, Jerry Word, said his client was recently transferred from Telfair State Prison to the Augusta State Medical Prison’s crisis management unit, where he was placed on suicide watch, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Word said Spangler killed himself in prison on Nov. 24.

“What we don’t know is why someone on suicide watch was still able to kill themselves in the Augusta State Prison,” Word told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The Georgia Department of Corrections (DOC) confirmed Spangler’s death, but did not specifically confirm it was a suicide.

“Details of the death are under investigation, as standard procedure, therefore we have no additional details to provide,” DOC Spokesperson Joan Heath told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) has been asked to conduct Spangler’s autopsy.

The fatal shooting of the Polk County police detective occurred on Sept. 29, 2017.

Det. Hearne and rookie Officer David Goodrich had stopped to investigate an abandoned vehicle near the intersection of Georgia 100 South and Santa Claus Road when Spangler and his accomplice, Michelle Roof, returned to the car and opened fire on them, The Polk County Standard Journal reported.

Investigators later discovered the vehicle had been reported as stolen.

Officials said Det. Hearne was not wearing a ballistic vest at the time of the attack because of the seemingly routine nature of the call, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

The married mother-of-one was shot four times in the ambush.

Officer Goodrich was also shot, but police said his ballistic vest saved his life, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Roof and Spangler fled on foot after the attack, but Roof was quickly apprehended.

Spangler remained on the run for hours, triggering a large-scale manhunt and the first-ever issuance of a Blue Alert in the State of Georgia, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Roof was convicted of aggravated assault on a peace officer and involuntary manslaughter earlier this year in connection with Det. Hearne’s murder.

She will be eligible for parole in 2027, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Det. Hearne began her law enforcement career at the age of 19, when she joined the Floyd County Sheriff’s Department, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.

She was later hired at the PCPD and had served a total of 10 years in law enforcement at the time of her murder.

Her son was just three years old when she was killed.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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