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911 call: Apex woman says husband was beaten, had death wish

Posted July 18, 2009
Updated July 19, 2009

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— Her voice breaking with sobs, an Apex woman facing murder charges told 911 dispatchers that she found her husband's beaten body in their home after she had spent a long time searching for him.

"He's got his teeth knocked out, and he's all beat-up looking," Jolene Kay Hardy, 55, said of what happened to Gerald Douglas Hardy, 60.

When asked by the dispatcher if she thought Gerald Hardy was "beyond any help," Jolene Hardy responded, "Oh, God, yes."

The 911 call was placed shortly after 4 p.m. Thursday, when Jolene Hardy says she went to the home of a neighbor after finding Gerald Hardy dead in their home at 3804 Perney Court.

Early Friday, deputies charged Jolene Hardy with murder; a judge denied her bond. Preliminary autopsy results showed that Gerald Hardy died of blunt-force trauma. Investigators haven't commented on motive or other details of the case.

Jolene Hardy said Gerald Hardy's body was "cold and stiff" when she came home around 3:30 p.m. after "hunting for him all last night and all day." She feared for him, she said, because he seemed to have a death wish after battling lymphoma for six years and often went to violent places, hoping to be killed.

"He's got a lot of mental problems, and he likes to go down to Raleigh and Durham. ... He was out there going to the gang areas and getting killed, because he doesn't want to die of his lymphoma," Jolene Hardy said. "I've been hunting for him all last night and all day, haven't had any sleep. I've been doing these things for six years since he got lymphoma."

She described those habits to dispatchers twice in the 5-minute call and also twice said that Apex police had found Gerald Hardy walking around 4 a.m. one day last year. At the start of the call, she is heard in the background also telling her neighbor about the incident with Apex police.

Jolene Hardy told dispatchers she last saw her husband alive early Wednesday morning. "And then he took off somewhere, evidently that evening," she said. She spent all that night and the next day looking for him, coming home only once Thursday morning, she said in the 911 call. Gerald Hardy came home sometime after that and then she found his body in the late afternoon, she said.

She tried for about a half-hour to resuscitate him, Jolene Hardy said.

"I tried all that time to resuscitate him, and he's so cold, and I couldn't stand it anymore. So I came over here (her neighbor's house), because it finally dawned on me I wasn't getting anywhere," she said.

Jolene Hardy listed medical conditions – a heart condition, high blood pressure and cholesterol, secondary diabetes – that prevented her from doing CPR well.

"He's stiff and cold as a bone. And I went and blew in his mouth, and nothing happened," she said. "I've never seen a dead person outside of a coffin. And I had to put my mouth on his, and it was so cold."

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