By Keri Blakinger, Houston Chronicle, Monday, August 14, 2017

The League City man who confessed to killing his ex-wife and stashing her body in the garage was released Monday afternoon on $1 million bond, according to online records.

Shaun Hardy admitted to killing Anne-Christine Johnson last December in a grisly slaying he described in detail for police during a recorded interview weeks after.

Shaun P. Hardy

Shaun Hardy

“He’s not going to run, he’s not a danger to anybody,” his lawyer, Dick DeGuerin, said Monday evening.

But the victim’s mother, Stephanie Johnson, felt differently.

“I’m scared to death,” she said. “For the first ever in my entire life I’m even remotely considering owning a gun.”

For weeks after Anne-Christine Johnson’s disappearance, search crews combed fields and neighborhoods looking the mother of two, who vanished just before Christmas.

But then in early January, police showed up at Hardy’s Chesterfield Lane home with a search warrant for cell phones possibly linked to the case.

Hardy started sobbing as police ransacked the home. And when a detective neared the garage, he noticed a “strong odor of decaying flesh,” according to a probable cause affidavit.

Once inside the garage, the detective spotted an object the size of a human body, covered in dark plastic and duct tape, with scented candles arranged around it.

Later, Hardy told investigators he kicked a knife into Johnson’s chest and then threw a Kroger bag over her head to put her “out of her misery.”

When police finally found her body, Johnson was still wearing Christmas pajamas and had the plastic bag over her head.

After Hardy’s arrest in early January, he was jailed and a judge later set bond at $500,000 on the murder charge and another $500,000 for a felony tampering with evidence charge.

While the accused killer waited behind bars, the home that was the scene of the gruesome slaying sold for somewhere between $185,000 and $215,000 in April, according to the Houston Association of Realtors.

Then over the weekend, Stephanie Johnson got word that Hardy might be released.

“It’s just devastating,” she said.

On Monday around 4 p.m. – the same day a judge signed an order modifying release conditions, which include wearing an ankle monitor – Hardy was released from custody, the Galveston County jail said.

Now, he’s looking forward to reuniting with the autistic son he shared with his ex-wife.

“He’s cared for (his son) for all the kid’s life, and it’s been very rough with him being locked up,” DeGuerin said. “This is a really tough case.”

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