By VALERIE WELLS The Galveston Daily News
A judge Tuesday declined to reduce the $1 million bond keeping accused killer Shaun Philip Hardy in jail, despite testimony from a string of defense witnesses.
Judge Patricia Grady of the 212th District Court ruled the bond would remain at $500,000 on a charge of murder in the death of Anne-Christine Johnson and $500,000 on a charge of tampering with her body. Both charges are first-degree felonies.
Johnson, who was Hardy’s former wife, was found slain Dec. 30 in the garage of Hardy’s suburban home.
Renowned Houston attorney Dick DeGuerin, who leads Hardy’s defense team, had asked that bonds be reduced to $150,000 for each charge, $300,000 total.
He argued Hardy did not pose a flight risk, needed medical and psychological evaluations, and was not able to make the $1 million bond, which DeGuerin called excessive. Shaun Hardy has an autistic 6-year-old son who needs his attention, DeGuerin said.
DeGuerin called four witnesses to support his arguments — Barry Hardy, Shaun Hardy’s father; Chris Reed, the interim police chief of Kemah; a consulting psychologist; and a bail bondsman.
Shaun Hardy admitted killing Johnson and described in gruesome detail how he did so, according to probable-cause affidavits.
Johnson’s father reported her missing Dec. 13. Police found her body wrapped in plastic Dec. 30 in the garage of a house on Chesterfield Lane.
Despite the witnesses, Grady denied both motions. DeGuerin said he intends to appeal.
Supporters of Anne-Christine Johnson’s family clapped and exclaimed when Grady gave her ruling in the packed courtroom.
“I think it was very fair,” Melissa Anderson said after the court recessed.
At least a dozen young women sat near Johnson’s family during the hearing. Some did not know the family, but came to the routine hearing anyway after reading about it.
Lisa Hardy, who is not related to Shaun Hardy, read about the hearing on Facebook and decided to come in person. She lives in League City just blocks from the Chesterfield Lane home where Shaun Hardy lived and Johnson’s body was found.
“A bond reduction is just craziness for the brutality of the crime,” she said before the hearing started.
Stephanie Johnson, the mother of Anne-Christine Johnson, was planning to go to her daughter’s favorite restaurant in League City to celebrate after the hearing, she said.
“I’m very relieved right now that Shaun Hardy will remain behind bars,” she said. “I’ve been wearing her shade of lipstick all day. I felt very close to her today.”
Grady told attorneys she wanted Hardy’s trial fast-tracked to begin in the fall.
Hardy’s next scheduled court appearance will be a status hearing on May 3 in Grady’s court.
Valerie Wells is a reporter at The Daily News and can be reached at 409-683-5246 or email@example.com.