BUFFALO – The Cheektowaga man who shot his father last April will not go to trial after expert witnesses from both the defense and prosecution both agreed that he sufferers from previously undiagnosed mental illnesses.
SirWilliam Hardy, 31, of Whitney Place, was charged with Second Degree murder after he killed his father, William Hardy, 54, of Fairfield, California while the two were watching a basketball game on April 3, 2017.
He pleaded not responsible by reason of mental disease or defect before Erie County Court Judge Kenneth F. Case Thursday morning.
The plea was approved by Erie County District Attorney John Flynn after a state psychiatrist agreed with the defense’s psychiatric expert that Mr. Hardy had a mental disease and lacked the capacity to appreciate the wrongfulness of his conduct at the time of the deadly shooting.
“He was like two different people,” said Mr. Flynn. “He literally personified two separate people. It was clear that he was delusional and that he has some serious mental issues.”
Cameras inside the home captured the shooting. Prosecutor Michael Smith described the event during a pre-trial conference back in May. “He was just kind of hanging out, no issues, when this defendant retrieved an AR-15, shot his father through the neck with it and as he crawled away, shot him again.”
Defense attorney Joel Daniels agrees that Mr. Hardy manifested two different personalities that night.
“If you look at the video, and watch it closely, you’ll see that SirWilliam was not acting rationally, and several moments after the shooting he then became aware of what happened and the police came to the house,” said Mr. Daniels.
Mr. Flynn says that Mr. Hardy’s family saw the “bizarre” behavior change in the time leading up to the shooting which started years prior, following a motorcycle accident that left him paralyzed. Doctors discovered the schizophrenia and delusional disorders only after the homicide.
“Apparently the family tried to get him to go seek help but he’s a 31-year-old man who could do what he wanted to do unless the family actually got a court order and got a guardian appointed over him, but it never got to that stage,” added Mr. Flynn.
It was only after the shooting did Mr. Hardy start to receive treatment. “He’s been receiving treatment right along since this incident happened,” said Mr. Daniels. “He is on medication and is doing much better.”
Mr. Hardy will undergo further mental evaluations over the next 90-days at a state facility in Rochester according to Mr. Flynn. He’ll most likely remain locked up in a secured maximum psychiatric facility.
The district attorney says this was the best outcome for the people of Erie County and Mr. Hardy.
“Its a very tragic situation when a son kills his father,” said Mr. Flynn. “The family is obviously tormented by this, and this is an awful thing for any family to endure.”