Teen involved in Cedar Rapids officer robbery fails to return to treatment facility

Harden was on probation for robbery, interference in connection with Officer Davis' assault

Published: January 16 2014 | 8:17 am - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 2:11 am in
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A Cedar Rapids teen involved in the 2009 robbery that left Cedar Rapids police officer Tim Davis severely injured has apparently fled the residential facility he was assigned to last October.

Sam Black, manager of the Lary A. Nelson Center - a Sixth Judicial District work release center - said Maurice Harden, 19, was released from the facility at 12:40 p.m. for an approved three-hour furlough, but did not return. Two hours later, Harden was designated as an escapee.

"At this pint in time, we have no knowledge of Mr. Harden's whereabouts," Black said Thursday morning.

Harden is on probation for first-degree robbery and interference with official acts causing serious injury for the March 29, 2009 robbery of David Scanlon and Austin Switalski. Davis was seriously injured when he responded to that robbery and attempted to stop Jose Rockiett, who was with Harden. Rockiett hit Davis in the head with a BB-gun, knocking him unconscious. Davis suffered a fractured skull and severe brain swelling after he fell and hit his head on the street. Harden was not present for the assault.

Because he was a juvenile at the time of the incident, Harden received a deferred sentence on the 25-year prison term the robbery charge carries. He was placed on probation after he turned 18.

However, Harden was jailed in November 2012 for failing to comply with the conditions of his parole. In September 2013, Linn County Attorney Jerry Vander Sanden filed for a revocation of probation after Harden missed his curfew five times and tested positive for marijuana. At a hearing in October 2013, Harden was assigned to the Nelson Center, despite Vander Sanden requesting additional jail time.

Black said Harden was placed at the facility on Oct. 21, 2013 and earned his first approved furlough on Dec. 20. Furloughs and other privileges are granted to residents who comply with facility's treatment programs, as well as mental health and substance abuse counseling, when applicable. Black said the furloughs to approved residences to visit family or significant others give counselors a sense of how the resident will manage their time when released from the facility.

"He put in some work and got to that point," Black said. "Since the 20th of December, we had six approved furloughs of that type that he managed successfully. "

Harden had also worked more than 200 hours outside of the facility at a job he started in November.

Black said after Harden didn't return to the facility, local law enforcement were informed and Nelson Center staff also checked in with area hospitals and jails to ensure Harden wasn't there. The Sixth Judicial District's High-Risk Unit has been informed, as well. Black said the sixth district will pursue charges for violation of the supervision agreement. What that will mean for Harden's probation is up to the court, Black said.

Harden managed his responsibilities at the Nelson Center "reasonably well" up to this point, Black said.

"To have this happen, it's not out of the realm of possibility, but it is unusual with the amount of compliance and time," he said.

Cedar Rapids Police Sgt. Cristy Hamblin said while Harden is certainly well-known to the department for his role in the 2009 robbery, his escape won't raise any red flags with the department.

"It's always a concern," Hamblin said. "Not necessarily because it was one of our officers, but because it was a crime against somebody."

 

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