By Chloe Morrison
A hearing was set for Harbin "Ben" Chaffin today in Mobile, Ala., to determine if he will be extradited or allowed bond, officials there said.
Mr. Chaffin, a former LaFayette, Ga., police officer, was arrested Tuesday in Mobile on three felony charges stemming from the investigation into the March 21 disappearance of Walker County 911 dispatcher Theresa Parker.
He is charged with violation of oath of public officer, tampering with evidence and computer invasion of privacy.
In April, he was charged with lying to Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents working on the Parker case.
Mr. Chaffin worked with Mrs. Parker's estranged husband, Sam Parker, who has been named a "person of interest" in the investigation. Mr. Parker has maintained he had nothing to do her disappearance.
Mr. Parker's sister, Carolyn Wooten, said Mr. Parker feels "really sorry for (Mr. Chaffin)."
Mr. Chaffin's lawyer is David Cunningham of Cunningham and Mullinax in LaFayette, the partnership's office confirmed Wednesday. Mr. Cunningham could not be reached for comment.
If Mr. Chaffin fights extradition, he could remain in jail for up to 60 days and his case would go to the governor, according to Kate Johnson, spokeswoman for the Mobile County Sheriff's Office.
Georgia officials have been asked by Rome Judicial Circuit District Attorney Leigh Patterson, who is in charge of the investigation into Mrs. Parker's disappearance, not to discuss the case.
Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit District Attorney Herbert "Buzz" Franklin, who recused himself because he and his investigators had worked with Mr. Parker, said Wednesday that Ms. Patterson will be handling Mr. Chaffin's case, too. Mrs. Patterson had no comment on Mr. Chaffin's arrest.
Mrs. Parker's brother-in-law Jonathan Wilson said her family hopes Mr. Chaffin's arrest will lead to closure in the case.
"(We wish) he would kind of come clean about all this and ease our suffering," Mr. Wilson said. "If he is not involved (he should) clear his name, and if he is involved (he shouldn't) take the fall for somebody."
E-mail Chloe Morrison at firstname.lastname@example.org