Eureka firefighter arrested in murder-for-hire sting

Friday, August 21, 2009

EUREKA SPRINGS -- A 30-year-old Eureka Springs firefighter, medic and reserve police officer, Cody Crews Harp, has been arrested for conspiracy to commit murder for trying to hire a hit man to kill his wife, police say.

The Eureka Springs High School graduate, who is well known in the community, reportedly passed money and information about his wife to an undercover FBI agent in the parking lot of a Eureka Springs lodging facility Tuesday evening.

He and his wife, Latisha Harp, were reportedly embroiled in a custody battle and divorce.

According to a press release issued by the Eureka Springs Police Department, Officer Brian Williams received information on Aug. 11 from a local man who said Harp was trying to hire a hit man to kill Latisha.

An investigation was initiated, and "over the course of a week, Harp made clear his intention to hire someone to kill his wife," the press release stated.

Eureka police said they contacted FBI Special Agent Dave Blakely and requested assistance with additional manpower, equipment and a certified undercover officer.

"The FBI gave their complete support and assisted Detective (Joe) Barbalance with the investigation," police said.

According to the press release issued by police, on Tuesday afternoon, Harp was contacted by an undercover officer posing as the hit man and agreed to meet him at a city motel, the Inn of the Ozarks parking lot.

Harp reportedly told the officer that he would have to go home to get a picture of his wife, the press release stated.

"Just after 5 p.m., Harp arrived and got into the undercover officer's vehicle. He provided a photograph and address of his wife, and paid money to the officer while under surveillance from Eureka Springs officers and FBI agents," police said in their report.

Once the money was paid and the deal was set, Harp reportedly exited the undercover vehicle and began walking back to his vehicle, where officers arrested him without incident.

Harp was transported to the Eureka Springs Police Department for questioning and processing, police say, and later taken to the Carroll County Detention Center, where he was booked on the conspiracy charge.

Authorities say he was a paramedic firefighter for the Eureka Springs Fire Department, and a reserve police officer with the ESPD serving as a medic on the Tri-City Special Response Team.

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