Suspect waives rights, case moves to grand jury

Published 9:41pm Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Murder suspect Rockel Hardy, 35 of Pine Apple, appeared in a Dallas County courtroom this week and waived his murder case to a Dallas County Grand Jury. In a bond hearing afterwards, District Judge Bob Armstrong left his bond at $2 million as it was set on Dec. 21 when Hardy was first taken into custody.

Hardy is accused of murdering a man in Minter following an altercation with an assault rifle.

Hardy allegedly opened fire on 47-year-old J.C. Gaines of Minter outside of Benny’s Place, a local bar and grill. Witnesses told the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department that after an altercation late at night, Hardy shot Gaines three times, hitting him twice and making him fall to the ground. Once on the ground, Hardy reportedly stood over Gaines and shot him again in the chest.

“During this time the suspect then received a gunshot wound to the buttocks,” Dallas County Sheriff Harris Huffman said in December following the incident. “But nobody seems to know where that shot came from.”

Huffman described the wound to Hardy’s buttocks as, “the size of a softball.”

Hardy was charged with murder first degree and given a $2 million bond. The victim, Gaines, was pronounced dead on arrival at Vaughan Regional Medical Center later that night after his friends took him by personal vehicle.

“It seems two individuals were inside a bar — or shotgun house — they call it Benny’s Place and there was a verbal altercation on the inside that resulted in a physical altercation on the outside,” Huffman said in December. “There were some punches from the victim and a suspect then the suspect went to a vehicle and retrieved a .22 caliber assault rifle.”

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