On May 2, 2018, James Harley, Jr. entered a guilty plea to first-degree premediated murder. This plea ensured that his 9 year old son would not have to take the stand and testify against his father for the murder of his mother. This plea was only possible due to the hard work of the men and women of the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office. Patrol Deputies arrived within minutes of the initial 911 call. First responding deputies, immediately recognized the homicide, secured the crime scene, established the perimeter and contacted the Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) detectives. Detectives worked vigorously to locate this suspect. He was in custody within 24 hours of the murder.

James W. Harley Jr.

Deputy State’s Attorney Kathryn Marsh said “I was personally impressed with CIB’s caring and dedication while working the scene and interviewing family members. I was on scene with them from 11 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. while Jennifer Morton was coordinating offsite reviewing the search warrants. CIB coordinated with the Metropolitan Police Department, the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office Special Operations Team (SOT), and the Maryland State Police.

The Sheriff’s office SOT spent hours working on grid searches, as well as searching every water hazard on the golf course for possible evidence. Detectives in CIB went above and beyond to include: escorting the juvenile victim to the funeral of his mother and stopping in to randomly play basketball with the juvenile. Throughout the case, as recently as last week, detectives from CIB continued to locate witnesses and secure evidence whenever Jennifer Morton and I requested their assistance. Most importantly, I am truly grateful for everyone’s hard work as it saved the juvenile victim from having to testify.”

Sheriff Evans, who attended the hearing, stated, “This was a horrific event for everyone involved, particularly for the family and friends of Tanya Harley, out detectives never stopped working to ensure justice was served.” He added, “Domestic violence related homicides occur far too often, we take them very seriously and have formed numerous partnerships over the past several years, which have led to the implementation of specific protocols to assist us with identifying and addressing domestic related issues.”

Original Press Release April 29, 2017:

On April 28th, 2017 at approximately 9:30 pm, units responded to a residence on Rawhide Road, Lusby, for an assist sick or injured call. Upon arrival it was determined that Tanya Louise Harley, a 34 year old female, was deceased from an apparent gunshot wound. Her husband, James W. Harley Jr. a 38 year old male, has been developed as the suspect. Mr. Harley left the residence prior to deputies arriving. He has not yet been located and the police are actively searching for him.

It is unknown if he is on foot or in a vehicle at this time. Please report any suspicious activities. Detective Mudd of the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office is the lead Detective and can be reached at 410-535-1600 ext. 2469 or muddjm@co.cal.md.us.