Filing outlines case for Hardy death penalty
Three reasons Jeremy Hardy should be executed if he is convicted of murder next month are alleged in the latest supplement to a bill of particulars filed in his case.
Those reasons are as follows:
(1)That he knowingly created a great risk of death to more than one person;
(2)The murders of Kent Powell and Billie Jean West were especially heinous, atrocious or cruel; and
(3) There’s a probability he would commit additional acts of violence that would make him “a continuing threat to society” if he were allowed to live.
Hardy, now 38, is scheduled to go on trial Jan. 16 at the Custer County Courthouse in Arapaho for the murders of Powell and Mrs. West around midnight of Dec. 16, 2015. They were killed as they drove along Interstate 40 trying to reach their respective homes at Arapaho and Lone Wolf.
Four reasons Hardy should receive the death penalty if he is convicted were listed in the original bill of particulars filed Dec. 16, 2016, but that was because the deaths of Powell and West were treated separately. In the latest filing, prepared by First Assistant District Attorney Ricky McPhearson, they’re treated as one cause.
The original bill of particulars gave few details to support each of the four causes, but the present one goes into great depth.
To support cause No. 1, it says not only were the two murder victims at risk of death that night but also so were Tamara Powell, Adam Wood, Cody Dalrymple, Joshua Morris, Mohsen Mousavi, Akbar Binakhahi, Steven Connly, Abdullahi Farah, “and every other motorist traveling on I-40 between mile marker 113 in Canadian County and mile marker 57 in Custer County, on or between 11:30 p.m. on Dec. 16, 2015, through 12:32 a.m. on Dec. 17, 2015.”
Mrs. Powell was the wife of murder victim Kent Powell and was riding with him as they returned from a business trip to Florida. The supplement says she notified the Oklahoma Highway Patrol at 11:57 p.m. that her husband had been shot as a pickup passed them.
Most or all of the others listed by name were riding in semitrailer trucks that were shot into that night along the highway. The supplement says Mousavi was driving a commercial motor vehicle with Binakhahi in the sleeper compartment and that a bullet hole was found in the truck “just inches from where Binakhahi’s head was while he was sleeping.”
Morris, driving another truck, allegedly heard several “thunk” noises when a pickup passed him. The BOP said a bullet hole was found later in the driver’s side door of that truck.
Connly, also driving a semi, was another near-victim. The BOP said at mile marker 78, two miles west of Weatherford, he heard what he thought was a blowout. Later, after stopping around m.m. 71 near the Custer City Road crossover, he discovered a bullet hole just behind the driver’s door.
Mrs. West was apparently trying to get away from the shooter when she was killed. The BOP said law enforcement was called at 12:17 a.m. on Dec. 17 to a location on the Exit 84 off-ramp at the east edge of Weatherford. It said the trajectory and direction of bullet evidence establishes that the defendant was firing at the 63-year-old victim’s Volkswagen car as she was exiting I-40 to get away from him. She was taken to the nearby Weatherford Regional Hospital where she was pronounced dead from a bullet wound.
Prior information in the case indicated she was traveling home from a shopping trip to Oklahoma City to buy Christmas presents for her grandchildren when she was killed.
As support for the allegation that the shootings of Powell and West were “especially heinous, atrocious or cruel,” the BOP said Dr. Chai Choi from the State Medical Examiner’s Office would testify that Powell’s injury was not the type to render him immediately unconscious and it would have been painful because the projectile hit his rib bone. Breathing would have been difficult, the BOP said, adding that loss of blood was what ultimately caused him to lose consciousness and die.
Mrs. West’s death would have been similarly painful, the document indicates, stating that Dr. Choi would testify that the bullet which struck her was also not immediately fatal.
All of Dr. Choi’s testimony is contingent on her being physically able to testify, as she apparently has been suffering health problems of her own. The bill of particulars said Dr. Marc Harrison, a forensic pathologist at the M.E.’s Office, will be prepared to testify if she cannot.
“The above described plan and the manner in which the plan was carried out is wicked and evil and was carried out with indifference to the suffering of Kent Powell and Billie Jean West,” McPhearson concluded that portion of the BOP.
Writing about the probability that Hardy would be likely to commit additional acts of violence if allowed to live, the assistant DA stated: “Defendant Hardy was cold, calculated and completely unremorseful with regard to these murders. The defendant does not appreciate the gravity of taking the lives of Jeffrey Kent Powell and Billie West and is thus more likely to do so again.”
As further support for the third leg of the BOP, McPhearson wrote about an incident in May of 2005 in Harris County, Texas (Hardy’s home county), after which he was convicted of “assault – domestic violence and injury to a child.” The BOP said he hit the child’s mother, Michelle Hardy, several times with his fist, dragged her around their apartment, and slammed her several times into pieces of furniture and the wall while she was holding her 2-year-old son, causing injuries to both him and his mother.
“Michelle Hardy had lumps on her head, red marks on her throat, and numerous scratches and bruises,” wrote McPhearson. The child had abrasions on his hand and advised a Harris County deputy that it hurt.
In addition, the statement alleges that Hardy knocked holes in the walls and then shot up the residence with a paintball gun.