Apex woman charged in husband's death
Posted July 17, 2009 5:51 a.m. EDT
Updated July 17, 2009 6:10 p.m. EDT
Apex, N.C. — Sheriff's deputies arrested an Apex woman early Friday on murder charges in the death of her 60-year-old husband, Wake County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Phyllis Stephens said.
Jolene Kay Hardy, 55, of 3804 Perney Court, faces murder charges in the death of Gerald Douglas Hardy.
Shortly after 4 p.m. Thursday, deputies received a call about a deceased person at the couple's home. Authorities have not said who made the call.
"Once we obtained search warrants to get inside, we started our investigation," Sheriff Donnie Harrison said. "Then we saw things that did not look right. And it turned out to be a homicide."
A preliminary autopsy report determined Gerald Hardy died of blunt-force trauma, Stephens said.
Harrison said he is certain that George Hardy's death was murder. He said he didn't want to talk about the cause of death ahead of an autopsy by the state chief medical examiner in Chapel Hill.
Harrison said investigators have spoken with Jolene Hardy and were talking to neighbors.
No more details about the case have been released.
At her first court appearance Friday afternoon, Jolene Hardy appeared indecisive when asked if she needed an attorney and mumbled, "I heard you should hire your own, but I don't know."
The judge granted her a court-appointed lawyer and denied her bond. A probable cause hearing was set for Aug. 6.
Neighbors said that George Hardy had been sick and in a wheelchair recently.
"We had heard he had cancer or something like that," said the neighborhood's community watch captain, Rick Habegger.
Harrison said he was aware of such talk and it was being looked into as part of the investigation.
Neighbors said that the Hardys were a quiet couple. Habegger recalled they set up elaborate Halloween and Christmas decorations every year.
"They were probably the most decorated of our community's homes," he said.
They had two sons and a daughter, Harrison said.
"I can't imagine what family goes through in which a spouse has a spouse that's very ill," Habegger said.
Wake County records show the couple's home was purchased in 2000 for $284,000. It is now valued at nearly $350,000.
In 2003, the couple took out a $220,000 loan for the home, and in May last year, Gerald Hardy filed a QuitDeed and gave ownership of the home to Jolene Hardy for $1. Although Quit Deeds are commonly used in a divorce, Stephens said the Hardys were married.