“Hart of Hearts: Kentucky’s Sarah Hart Murder"

Photo story on South-Central Kentucky’s Sarah Brooke Roberts Hart murder and the inaugural “Run With All Your Hart” race it inspired.

On the morning of June 14, 2012 in Jamestown, Ky., Dr. Sarah Hart, a 31-year-old pharmacist, went out for a jog with her younger sister. Not feeling well, she turned around about halfway into the course and parted ways with her sibling.

That was the last time anyone who loved Sarah Hart would ever see her alive.

Standing 5 feet 5 inches tall, weighing 120 pounds and approximately 10 weeks pregnant with her fourth child, Hart was suddenly ambushed by 28-year-old Christopher W. Allman, a convicted felon standing 6 feet 6 inches and outweighing her by 70 pounds, according to police.

Allman dragged the woman into a weeded treeline alongside U.S. Highway 127 with the intent of robbing her, he later admitted in court, then the habitual felon raped Hart and strangled her with a thick vine. Would-be rescuers found her lifeless body concealed in the weeds a few hours later, less than 90 feet from one of Russell County’s busiest roadways.

Despite being physically outmatched, Hart gave Allman “a good struggle," Russell County Coroner Larry Skaggs told the Lexington Herald-Leader. "She definitely fought back.”

Hart’s murder was a random occurrence, a simple crime of opportunity. It was also Russell County’s most brutal crime in a generation and shook the sleepy Lake Cumberland community to its core.

Friends, family members and the community at large needed a way to cope — a way to begin healing, a way to try making some semblance of sense from what could only be described as a senseless tragedy. They needed some way of fighting back against their own grief, anger and anxiety just as Sarah Hart had fought her executioner.

Wendell Roberts, Hart’s father and a local minister, suggested some sort of race be organized in his daughter’s memory. Friends took the idea and literally ran with it, creating the “Run With All Your Hart” four-mile road race and 1.5-mile fun walk, an annual event that would benefit the newly-created Sarah Roberts Hart Scholarship Fund.

Nearly 3,000 runners and walkers participated in the first annual “Run With All Your Hart” — no small accomplishment for an inaugural event organized by volunteers in less than two months and held in a city of fewer than 2,500 residents.

A Kentucky State Police crime scene technician enters the wooded area where the body of 31-year-old jogger Sarah Brooke Roberts Hart was found after she was brutally raped and murdered on Thursday, June 14, 2012 in Jamestown, Ky. Hart was a pharmacist and mother of three who was pregnant with her fourth child when she lost her life in a random crime of opportunity that shook the sleepy Lake Cumberland community of Russell County to its core. (© 2012 Billy Suratt/Apex MediaWire, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED)

A Kentucky State Police detective looks over the crime scene where Sarah Roberts Hart was raped and murdered on Thursday, June 14, 2012 in Jamestown, Ky. The KSP lieutenant leading the homicide investigation knew Hart personally, as did many other authorities involved in the case, making the woman’s murder — Russell County’s most brutal crime in a generation — an emotionally-draining experience for all involved. Christopher W. Allman, a suspect arrested within hours of Hart’s murder, confessed to the crime and was sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole. (© 2012 Billy Suratt/Apex MediaWire, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED)

A group of runners pass by a sign during the first annual “Run With All Your Hart” race on Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012 in Russell Springs, Ky. The sign was inscribed with the RWAYH logo — including foot and handprints belonging to Sarah Hart’s three children — and the Bible verse Acts 20:24 (NIV): “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me — the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” (© 2012 Billy Suratt/Apex MediaWire, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED)

A runner cools down by running through a stream of water from a garden hose during the first annual “Run With All Your Hart” race on Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012 in Russell Springs, Ky. In addition to the nearly 3,000 runners and walkers participating in Russell County, numerous “virtual runners” from across the globe who were unable to attend “Run With All Your Hart” ran their own solo and small group races in Hart’s memory. (© 2012 Billy Suratt/Apex MediaWire, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED)

A man celebrates as he passes the four-mile marker near the finish line of the first annual “Run With All Your Hart” four-mile race and 1.5-mile fun walk on Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012 in Russell Springs, Ky. The race distance was set at four miles in honor of Sarah Hart’s three children and one unborn child; the final mile marker honored Alexander, the unborn baby who also perished when his mother was murdered. (© 2012 Billy Suratt/Apex MediaWire, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED)

Two women celebrate after crossing the finish line of the first annual “Run With All Your Hart” race on Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012 in Russell Springs, Ky. Nearly 3,000 runners and walkers competed in the inaugural event, despite the fact it was held in a small South-Central Kentucky city with fewer than 2,500 residents. (© 2012 Billy Suratt/Apex MediaWire, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED)

Slain jogger Sarah Roberts Hart’s father, Wendell Roberts, hugs her sister, Elizabeth Roberts, as the two are overcome with emotion at a ceremonial check presentation following the first annual “Run With All Your Hart” race and fun walk on Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012 in Russell Springs, Ky. RWAYH raised $70,000 for the newly-created Sarah Roberts Hart Scholarship Fund. Sarah, her husband, Ryan, and her younger sister, Elizabeth, were all pharmacists; the scholarship fund named in Sarah’s honor was created to help Lake Cumberland area high school students study pharmacy or other medical disciplines in college. (© 2012 Billy Suratt/Apex MediaWire, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED)


  • Role Photographer & Photo Editor

  • For Apex MediaWire

  • Date June 14 – Aug. 11, 2012

  • Type Photo Story

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