The Bogalusa Police Department had received numerous complaints from neighbors and parents who had seen Harwell masturbating in public view, while looking at schoolchildren boarding the bus at two bus stops near his apartment. On June 26, 2018, Harwell was caught in the act on the back porch of his home about 7:28 a.m., as Det. Jeffrey Bergeron observed from a neighbor’s window. Bergeron immediately placed Harwell under arrest.
A pretrial motion, filed by the state, allowed the introduction of evidence from four of Harwell’s previous convictions: obscenity in 2014, 2004, and 1998, and indecent behavior with juveniles in 1994. Harwell also has a pending case of indecent behavior with a juvenile, in which he is accused of abusing a child.
The jury deliberated a half-hour before finding him guilty. Assistant District Attorney David Weilbaecher, Jr. prosecuted the case before District Judge William Burris.