Initial hearing on teacher accused of gun crime pushed into March


MONTICELLO – A preliminary hearing for a former Van Buren teacher who forced a college student to West Point to pick up marijuana, at some point brandishing a gun, has been pushed back until March.

Adam James Hardin, 37, who’s address in court documents is still listed in the 200 block of Avenue C in West Point, is facing charges of possession of a controlled substance, and unlawful use of a weapon, both Missouri felonies.

Hardin was arrested on Oct. 27 according to a Lewis County probable cause report out of Canton, Mo. According the report, Canton police were called to a fraternity house on Culver-Stockton’s campus at 7:35 p.m., where a student informed police that Hardin had made him transport him back to West Point and at one point pulled a gun and set it on the console of the truck telling the students that was for him not to ask any questions. Once in West Point, Hardin retrieved a cooler from his house where a cooler was placed in the toolbox of the pickup truck the student was driving. The two then returned to the frat house where the student was dropped off and then informed police about the incident.

Upon arrest, police recovered a semi-automatic pistol and 98 grams of marijuana.

Lewis County Judge Fred Westhoff granted a continuance last week to move the preliminary hearing to March 18 at 10:30 a.m. in Lewis County Courthouse.

Hardin is represented by John Jay Benson out of Kirksville, Missouri.

Lewis County Prosecutor Jules DeCoster of Monticello, is representing the state in the case. DeCoster, who’s a part-time prosecutor and has a private practice in Monticello, declined to comment on the case when contacted at his office on Thursday.

The firearms charge is per Missouri code 571.0300 (10), which accuses Hardin of carrying a firearm, whether loaded or unloaded, or any other weapon readily capable of lethal use into any school, onto any school bus, or onto the premises of any function or activity sponsored or sanctioned by school officials or the district school board.

Mindy Smith, Human Resource Manager with Van Buren Community Schools said Thursday Hardin was not using a Van Buren school district vehicle at the time of the incident.

She also said she could neither confirm nor deny that current Van Buren students were inside the vehicle as it went from Missouri to  Iowa and back.

She did confirm that Hardin is no longer employed with the district.

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