Tip leads to arrest in slashing case

Cory Harley has been charged with aggravated assault in a November face-slashing attack in South Philadelphia.
Cory Harley has been charged with aggravated assault in a November face-slashing attack in South Philadelphia.
Posted: January 09, 2013

Ashley Hackett's flesh wound has almost healed, two months after an attacker sliced her face with a knife and took off with her purse in South Philadelphia, but a scar remains, and Hackett's outlook has been scarred as well.

"My perspective on life - you learn you can't trust everybody," Hackett, 23, said Tuesday morning after police announced an arrest in her case. "It feels like it took away my sense of security. Not all people are innately good."

Capt. Laurence Nodiff stood with Hackett at South Division headquarters Tuesday and said, "Our man is in custody. This predator is off the street."

Nodiff said 30-year-old Cory Harley was being held on $500,000 bail on seven offenses related to the Nov. 11 robbery, including aggravated assault. "We are elated that this vicious predator is off the street," Nodiff said. He said Harley used a "surgically sharp knife." Harley led police to the knife, which was in a sewer, Nodiff said.

Harley, who was charged by police overnight Monday, "is no stranger to law enforcement," Nodiff said.

Indiana records show Harley served time on convictions for burglary and arson. In November 2002, he was sentenced to a year for the arson, and in July 2004 to three years for the burglary.

Police said Harley lives in an apartment on the 600 block of South Street. He was arrested near his home.

Nat Leonard, owner of the Society Hill Loan pawn shop at 645 South, said on Tuesday that he never saw Harley and never knew he lived near his business. Other local business operators also said they had never seen Harley.

Nodiff said Harley's arrest came after police received a "significant tip" Sunday.

He said that Harley told a family member about the attack and that the family member told an "ex-family member." The ex-family member provided the tip, Nodiff said.

Hackett was attacked near her home on the 700 block of South Ninth Street about 4 a.m. She required more than 100 stitches to close a 31/2-inch wound.

In the days following the assault, Hackett asked the public to help police find her attacker.

Nodiff said Hackett was "very brave" to ask the public for help. Hackett said that five of her relatives are in law enforcement, four in the Philadelphia Police Department.

Hackett, a Philadelphia native who works for eBay Inc., said police "did everything in their power to make an arrest and bring me justice."

Police offered a $12,500 reward for information leading to an arrest.

Nodiff said the person who provided the tip "didn't mention anything about reward money," but was "nauseated" by the crime and wanted the suspect locked up.


Contact Sulaiman Abdur-Rahman at sabdur-rahman@phillynews.com.

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