Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Murder of Jeanne Tovrea

A Hap-less
Turn of Events for Harrod

On September 14, 1995, seven years after Jeanne's murder, the police arrested Harrod as he worked on his car outside his home in Ahwatukee Foothills, Arizona. He was taken to the Phoenix Police Department to be interviewed by Reynolds. It was a moment the detective had long awaited.

Charles C. Harrod
Charles C. Harrod

During the interview, Reynolds' main goal was to try and get Harrod to confess to Jeanne Tovrea's murder, hoping he'd implicate Hap in the process. To reach that goal, Reynolds decided to use an upfront approach. After opening with questions about Harrod's past jobs, which entailed his working as a consultant, goods importer and as a loan officer, Reynolds informed Harrod he was under arrest for the first-degree murder of Jeanne Tovrea. He played the taped message from Jeanne's answering machine of the alleged "Gordon Philips." After listening to it, Reynolds asked if the voice on the recorder was his, to which Harrod replied, "No."

Harrod's Interview by Phoenix Police
Harrod's Interview by Phoenix Police

Throughout the interview, Harrod appeared nonplused and claimed to have been in shock about the allegations against him. He showed little reaction when he was told that his ex-wife might give him up. He also appeared unruffled when Reynolds presented him with the biggest blow of all, which was new evidence that the 18 sets of fingerprints found at the crime scene matched his. Instead of the confession Reynolds was hoping for, Harrod said that he was not the killer and that he had no idea how his fingerprints turned up at the crime scene. He then told investigators he had an alibi.

He stated during a later interview with Paul Rubin that on the night of the murder he met up with a man with whom he "had a couple beers" and "snorted some cocaine" before going with him to a park to drink some more. He said that he went home sometime around 11:15 p.m. that night, drank some wine and then fell asleep on the couch. He claimed that Anne woke up briefly and had seen him but "turned right back over and went to sleep like a thousand times before." Harrod's alibi concerning Anne was never substantiated because it directly conflicted with her testimony. Moreover, the man with whom he allegedly met with on the night in question was never found. Thus, his story as to his whereabouts on the night of the murder held little credibility with investigators.

Harrod made other excuses as to why he could not have committed the murder. He told Rubin that even if he wanted to, his health would have prevented him from negotiating the "steep desert terrain" near Jeanne's home because he was "a lot bigger in those days," "smoked two packs of cigarettes a day, drank a lot and did some drugs." In reference to Anne's testimony, Harrod told Rubin that his wife's family "hated" him so bad that they wanted him dead, which he thought had a "lot of bearing on the things she said." Once again, investigators found his story difficult to believe because it just didn't match up with the hard evidence they had against him.

After repeated grilling, it became clear to investigators that Harrod was not going to give them the information they wanted. They then turned their focus to Hap, who much to their exasperation, also vehemently denied any involvement in the murder. Despite Hap's claims, investigators were highly skeptical because his story was often times inconsistent with the evidence. One such example was when Hap attempted to "diminish his relationship" with Harrod even though the men talked on the phone "on average of almost once per day" between mid-1987 to mid-1991, Rubin reported.

Even though investigators were almost certain of Hap's involvement in the murder plot, there was still not enough evidence to arrest him. Regardless, they had a strong case against Harrod and set about preparing for the upcoming trial, continuing to hope that evidence might arise at some point that would eventually net Hap. They would have a long wait.

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