(Photo: Paul Fleet – Fotolia)

The Southwestern Judicial Circuit district attorney was found shot dead Sunday, according the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

“At approx 2:22 p.m. yesterday, a call was received by Leslie Police Chief Bob Smith that a male was found deceased in the driver’s seat of a pickup truck located at 116 East Allen St., Leslie, Georgia,” the GBI’s public information officer said Monday. “When officers arrived they identified the male as Plez Hardin, age 48.”

GBI assistance was requested for the investigation. “Preliminary information indicates Mr. Hardin died of a single gunshot wound to the chest. No foul play is suspected,” the spokesman said. “An autopsy will be performed at the GBI Crime Lab in Macon.”

Hardin earned his J.D. from Mercer University law school and was admitted to the State Bar of Georgia in 2000.

“We are saddened to hear of the death of District Attorney Plez Hardin,” Pete Skandalakis, executive director of the Prosecuting Attorneys Council of Georgia, said by email Monday, “Our prayers are with his family and his staff at this time.”

Houston County District Attorney George Hartwig posted condolences on Facebook and also told the Daily Report in an email:  ”I am praying for the family and staff of DA Plez Hardin.”