Former Deputy Claimed Death of Girlfriend Who Used Wheelchair Was Suicide. Now He's Convicted of Murder

Former sheriff’s deputy Jay Allen Rotter was convicted of shooting his girlfriend, Leslie Lynn Hartman, with his service weapon in August 2020

<p>Denton County Criminal District Attorney

Denton County Criminal District Attorney's Office; Facebook

Jay Allen Rotter; Leslie Lynn Hartman

Within hours, a Texas jury convicted Jay Allen Rotter of the murder of his paralyzed girlfriend, who he originally claimed had died by suicide, the Denton County Criminal District Attorney’s Office and the Denton Police Department confirmed on X (formerly known as Twitter).

The following day, the jury sentenced 30-year-old Rotter — who had been a Tarrant County sheriff's deputy since 2005 and was a part of the narcotics division at the time of the murder — to 30 years behind bars for Leslie Lynn Hartman’s 2020 shooting death, according to the district attorney’s office.

After the August 2020 shooting, Rotter called 911 and claimed that Hartman, 46, who used a wheelchair, had turned his service weapon on herself and fatally shot herself in the head while the two were embracing, according to a warrant previously obtained by PEOPLE.

Related: Tx. Cop Claimed His Girlfriend Killed Herself, But Police Say He Killed Her, Bragged About It Online

On the call, Rotter said the couple had been watching TV on his computer when she grabbed his service weapon and pulled the trigger, per the warrant.

At the time of the call, he said he had not been able to stop Hartman and that she was already dead.

But in a chatroom app, Rotter admitted to shooting his girlfriend himself, writing, per the warrant: "I just sent a 9 millie in this f---in' hippie."

Facebook Leslie Lynn Hartman
Facebook Leslie Lynn Hartman

Investigators later linked the hippie comment to Hartman, noting in the warrant it was a reference to her "lifestyle as a person who is eco-friendly,” and as someone who was also a “nature lover” with a penchant for “her use of psychedelic drugs."

At the crime scene, responding officers found Hartman’s limp body on the floor beside her wheelchair.

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Investigators also found blood on Rotter and observed bloodstains scattered throughout the couple's house in the hallway, bathroom and living room.

At the time of his girlfriend’s death, Rotter was also charged with felony drug possession and tampering with evidence, WBAP reported.

Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office Jay Allen Rotter
Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office Jay Allen Rotter

In interviews with police, per the warrant, Rotter refused to give officers his cell phone, and, while alone in the interrogation room, reset his phone to original factory settings.

Even so, investigators ultimately seized his cell phone and computer, and those texts and other messages they eventually uncovered provided some of the lynchpin evidence prosecutors used in Rotter’s conviction last week.

In those text messages, previously reported by PEOPLE, Hartman noted her frustration about her boyfriend’s drug use, leading to disagreements between the couple.

And, in other messages on the chat room app Discord, where Rotter had admitted to killing his girlfriend, he had also documented other arguments, per the warrant, including one in which he claimed that Hartman was mad at him because he had shot a bottle of milk in their backyard.

If you are experiencing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or go to All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.

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