HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — The third day of testimony got underway early Tuesday morning in the murder trial of Warren Hardy as the defense presented their case. Hardy took the stand in his own defense in the afternoon.
Hardy is charged with killing 72-year-old NASA retiree Kathleen Lundy in 2016 after authorities say he kidnapped his ex-girlfriend Jessica Holtcamp, her daughter and her stepfather. Hardy has been in custody since the incident and maintains his innocence.
On Friday, a jury made up of seven men and nine women heard opening statements from prosecutors and defense attorneys.
The jury also heard testimony from Lundy’s husband Rusty, who described in detail what happened the night his wife was killed in front of him. The audio of Rusty’s call to 911 was played in court.
During Monday’s testimony, the jury was shown pictures of the Lundy home taken by crime scene investigator Lisa Hamilton. Other photos showed the vehicle Hardy’s ex-girlfriend, Jessica Holtcamp, her daughter and stepfather drove away in.
Hamilton was able to describe both scenes in great detail, along with evidence that was collected when Hardy was arrested in Tennessee – including knives, a handgun, holster, magazine and eight unfired cartridges.
Defense attorney Larry Marsili asked jurors to approach the case with an open mind and common sense. As part of his opening statement, Marsili asked that the jury listen very closely because this is a case where the details are going to matter. Marsili continued by saying that there will be some things in this trial that line up perfectly and there will be some that don’t add up at all.
Huntsville Police Investigator Chris Hines was called to the stand during the second day of trial. It was during this time a 38-minute-long interview with Hardy was played for the jury. Prosecutor Tim Gann asked Hines if there was a chance the shooting was accidental, Hines said no.
Around 3:15 Monday afternoon, the state rested its case against Hardy. The defense began presenting its case Tuesday morning by calling Dr. Wilkie Wilson a neuropharmacologist as the first witness of the day.
Wilson spoke about how neuropharmacology is the study of how drugs affect the brain and how some of the drugs Hardy was prescribed during his stay at Huntsville Hospital on August 25 and 26, 2016, could have affected him.
Wilson testified about the drugs Hardy was given during his 18-hour stay at Huntsville Hospital which included an antipsychotic and Lorazepam. He also discussed a previous visit Hardy had made to Huntsville Hospital in July 2016 for extreme depression.
According to the medical records, Wilson consulted, Hardy was angry, agitated, uncooperative and refused to answer questions. The records also show he threatened to “take himself out and the tech too”.
Wilson said the Lorazepam and antipsychotic were both used to sedate Hardy and hospital staff wanted to give him Lithium as well but couldn’t because he was sleeping. When Hardy woke up on August 26 he was given three drugs, one was a hypertension drug for a cardiac issue, the second was Lithium and the third was another mood stabilizer, according to Wilson.
He added the hospital records show Hardy left the hospital against medical advice just before lunch that day. Wilson testified that given the amount of time Hardy was in the hospital the drugs wouldn’t have taken full effect so the person’s behavior on arrival would continue.
Madison County Chief Deputy District Attorney Tim Gann asked Wilson about something Hardy said in the medical report, how he admitted he made the story up to get sympathy from his girlfriend. Wilson said he was aware of that.
The defense also called Dr. Jeffrey Neuchatz, a psychology professor at UAH, to the stand Tuesday morning. Neuchatz was called to testify about the science of memory, which he said he’s studied since 1992, he would not be testifying about the facts of the case.
Neuchatz testified the greater exposure time someone has with information the more accurate their memory is going to be. He explained traumatic experiences are better remembered than everyday memories and that someone may remember the details specific to those experiences.
Hardy was called to the stand and sworn in just before 11 a.m. He started his testimony by saying, “I’m 32, I’m a resident of Madison County. I understand why we’re here today.”
Hardy said Holtcamp’s and Lt. Dickey’s testimony from Friday about the incident at the Huntsville Police south precinct was accurate.
Hardy explained he knew about the protection order Holtcamp had filed but had not seen it, has never seen it. His understanding was that he wasn’t supposed to do anything threatening to her.
While on the stand, Hardy testified that Holtcamp’s mother did not like him or his relationship with Holtcamp and because of this when he visited her new apartment Holtcamp told him to park away so her mother wouldn’t see his car.
On the day of the shooting, Hardy said he parked away from everything and let himself into Holtcamp’s apartment with a key. Then he put a pair of pajama pants on Holtcamp’s bedroom dresser, realized he hadn’t brought anything for her daughter and went to her room to write her a short note.
While he was in the daughter’s room writing a text message Holtcamp’s daughter and stepfather, Lee Bradford, came home to the apartment. Hardy said he tried to hide in the closet but he was a big guy so it was hard.
He continued, that he thought Bradford saw him hiding in the closet and came out. He says Bradford asked him questions, ‘Why are you in the closet?’, ‘Why are you in the apartment?’, ‘Why do you have a gun?’.
Hardy testified that Bradford had mobility issues and fell, that he never pushed or tased Bradford as he said in his testimony Friday. Hardy said they then went to go get food and Bradford said he would mediate a conversation between him and Holtcamp.
He said they pulled up to the gate at Morland Pointe, saw Holtcamp and had Bradford call her. Hardy said he could tell Bradford was nervous.
Hardy said he got out of the car to try and talk to Holtcamp, she proceeded to get in the car and sit down when the door hits Hardy and he says he fell to the ground worried about the motor, trying to get out of the way.
Next, Hardy explained he got up, saw an unknown lady leaving her house and rushed up to her while the gun was still in his hand but pointing at the ground. Hardy said he thinks he scared her. He went on to say that Lundy hit him several times before he could grab her arms and hold her under his armpit to try to get her to calm down.
At this point Hardy said he hadn’t seen Lundy’s husband, Rusty, and that he didn’t until after the gun went off during his struggle with Lundy. He explained when the gun went off Lundy started kneeling, that’s when Hardy sees Mr. Lundy and points the gun in his direction. Mr. Lundy then tossed the keys at him and he took off in their car.
Hardy then described how he went after Bradford and Holtcamp and shot at them three times because he thought they were going to ram his car as he chased them until losing sight of them on the highway by Zierdt Road.
After the chase, Hardy said he went to grab his SUV from near Holtcamp’s apartment and drive east because all of the commotion was to the west. Hardy decided to travel to Tennessee in order to get his thoughts together and didn’t know that Lundy had died until a news report that evening showed his driver’s license picture as a suspect for capital murder, according to testimony.
Hardy said at one point he was running from police, crashed his car and decided to end his own life but after manually loading his gun with one bullet and pulling the trigger multiple times nothing happened. Tennessee law enforcement took him into custody at that time.
The defense asked Hardy if he meant to shoot Kathleen Lundy that day and he responded, never sir.
The defense rested their case Tuesday afternoon after their last witness Dr. Eric Warren, a forensic consultant from Memphis, Tenn. spoke.
Closing arguments started around 3 p.m. with the state giving arguments first, followed by the defense, then the prosecution again for final closing statements.
Prosecutor Tim Gann says actions show intentions… and that all of Hardy’s actions on the day of the shooting are telling of what his intent actually was. Hardy had a deadly weapon during a robbery.
While in his closing remarks, defense attorney Larry Marsili specifically calls to question the intent of Hardy in the shooting death of Lundy which the jury will use to determine the capital murder charge, saying the shooting was accidental.
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