William Edward "Billy" Hardesty

This case was huge in Ypsilanti, Michigan back in 1978-1981. Though I was living in Ann Arbor at the time, my friends were right in the thick of it.  The Look band was playing at Abigail's that night and escaped without harm. One of good friends was a bouncer there but happened to be off work that night (whew).  We had friends in the Sheriff's Dept as well. Then in 1981, I was in the jury pool for the Hardesty trial. Wasn't picked due to all my police family members. 

Here is what happened:

William Edward "Billy" Hardesty killed seven people and wounded two others in Ypsilanti, Michigan, between October 3 and October 19, 1978. After an hour-long standoff with police, he was shot twice and captured.

On October 3, Hardesty killed his roommate Lawrence Leon Gordon in his home and hung the body from the doorknob. He afterward went to the home of another roommate of his, Willie Dunn, and on October 4 killed him by stabbing and hacking him more than 50 times with a machete. (!)

On the evening of October 18, Hardesty shot and killed his parents, Ronald and Jeannette Hardesty, at their home on Martz Rd in rural Wayne County.

He hid the body of his father in a freezer chest on the porch of the house and waited for his mother to come home. When she did, he killed her with a shot to the head. He even strangled their cat!!

Later that night, he shot and killed Troy Curry and Timothy Schofield outside Abigail's Bar in Ypsilanti. The same night, he went to Stiles-Wood Building, a machine shop in Ypsilanti Township, Washtenaw County, and shot and killed Daniel Wood, the brother of his former wife. He also shot Tommy Lee Brown, a witness to the Wood killing.

He later returned to Stiles-Wood and shot Bobby Joe Baker as he fled after discovering the dead and wounded men at the machine shop.

The following day, on October 19, at about 2 am, Hardesty entered Abigail's (Bimbos) the Ypsilanti bar. (forever known to locals as Stab-igails) bar,

After an altercation inside the bar, Hardesty went into the parking lot, where he killed Troy Curry and Timothy Schofield. At 6 am, he arrived at Therm-o-Fil a tool and die company off Huron River Dr, owned by his ex-father-in-law, where he first shot dead his ex-wife's brother, Daniel Wood, and wounded Tommy Lee Brown.

Hardesty being carried to an ambulance shortly after the shooting.

Hardesty then returned to his parent's home and fired the 22 rifle and a shotgun at State police, Washtenaw County Sheriffs and Van Buren officers who tried to arrest him. After an hour-long siege, Hardesty was shot and wounded in the shoulder and stomach and finally taken into custody.

click above to enlarge

Lawrence Leon Gordon, 46
Willie Dunn, 35
Ronald Hardesty, 43, his father
Jeanette Hardesty, 40, his mother
Troy Curry, 28
Timothy Schofield, 21
Daniel Wood, 38, ex-wife's brother
Bobby Joe Baker, 23
Tommy Lee Brown, 31

After 3 years of mental competency hearings, Hardesty was found guilty of four counts of first-degree murder, one count of second-degree murder, and two counts of assault with intent to murder, but mentally ill.

He was sentenced to life terms for the five murders, and terms of 100 to 200 years and 150 to 300 years on the assaults. He is currently incarcerated in Richard A Handlon Correctional Facility in Ionia Michigan.

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