BOSSIER PARISH, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The public defender representing the Bossier City man who was reported missing for three days before being arrested and accused of murder says his client did not kill anyone.
John Hardy, 43, is being held in Bossier Parish on $1.3 million bond following his arrest Saturday in Shreveport on warrants for second-degree murder and obstruction of justice. Police have not said who Hardy is accused of killing, but they have said they are waiting on the Bossier Parish Coroner’s Office to identify human remains found the day before Hardy’s arrest on a deer lease he had access to in northern Bossier Parish.
“It’s not included in any arrest affidavit, it’s not included in any information that’s readily available. But I think it’s pretty obvious where they’re going,” said Randal Fish, who was appointed to represent Hardy after his first appearance in Bossier District Court on Monday.
While the Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office arrest report does not identify who Hardy is accused of killing, it does indicate that a weapon has not been recovered.
Bossier City police had previously confirmed that they were looking into whether Hardy’s brief disappearance before his arrest was connected to the disappearance last month of his business partner, Garrett Wilson. It was in the course of that investigation and the search for Hardy that the remains were found.
“And I could be wrong, but it appears that the remains they found up in Rocky Mount, I think, are Garrett Wilson’s,” said Fish. However, he says his client is shocked and dismayed by all of this, and that he “certainly adamantly says he did not murder anybody and doesn’t know what happened to Garrett Wilson.”
Wilson was helping Hardy run his HVAC business when he was reported missing Jan. 23. Searches organized by friends, family, and volunteers turned up no sign of him except for his cell phone found abandoned near a bridge on Sligo Rd.
John Hardy himself was reported missing nearly a month later, on Feb. 19. That same day, the search that led to the discovery of the remains was getting underway in Rocky Mount. He was arrested three days later.
On Tuesday, Fish said he was still gathering information about the case and has filed motions requesting a hearing in which investigators must present evidence leading to the charges. Based on that evidence, the judge can decide whether the defendant should be held over for trial or released. Fish said he expects a court date for that hearing could be set within a month.
In the case of second-degree murder – or any case that carries with it life in prison – however, the district attorney also must present the evidence to a grand jury, who then will decide whether to indict the suspect on the charge, issue lesser or elevated charges, or issue what is called ‘no true bill,’ in which the suspect is released.
In the meantime, Fish notes that his client is a former police officer and sheriff’s deputy with no prior criminal history, while Wilson “has spent a good portion of his adult life in prison for very serious crimes in and of itself make it different.”
Wilson, who police said Tuesday was still considered missing, is an ex-convict who honed his skills in heating and air conditioning repair when he serving time in connection with a 1994 armed robbery and murder. Fish also noted that Wilson testified against his co-defendants in that case as part of a plea deal in exchange for limiting his maximum sentence to 20 years. He was ultimately sentenced to 15 years for armed robbery and five years for accessory after the fact.
“It’s unusual when you have an alleged victim that was also convicted of a murder and got out,” Fish said.
Fish is appointed to defend all first- and second-degree murder and first-degree rape cases that involve mandatory life-in-prison sentences. He said this case is unique in his 40-year career as a public defender, and he expects it to get a great deal of scrutiny.
“It’s really early for me to make any assessment, but I do feel this is certainly going to be an interesting case.”