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Beecher Man Charged In Father’s Murder Found Unfit For Trial

Charles Hardig (Credit: Will County Sheriff)

Charles Hardig (Credit: Will County Sheriff)

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JOLIET, Ill. (STMW) – A Beecher man sent to prison for killing his father got a second chance at a trial, but might never face a judge or jury again.

A Will County judge this month found Charles Hardig, 46, mentally unfit to stand trial for the 2002 murder of Richard Hardig.

In 2006, a jury convicted Charles Hardig of shooting his father to death.

He was given a chance for a new trial on appeal in 2009, but mental health evaluations reveal he may never be ready for a second trial.

Instead, Hardig has been transferred to the Department of Human Services for inpatient treatment.

Authorities say Hardig shot and killed his father in January 2002 outside their home in the 30800 block of Racine in Beecher.

Sheriff’s police found Richard Hardig curled in a fetal position next to a stoop outside a door to his home, shot four times.

Charles Hardig was arrested after he emerged from a nearby field, and police said he admitted that night that he shot his father.

A Will County jury found him guilty of the crime in September 2006 after deliberating for nearly 12 hours straight.

That lengthy deliberation proved problematic and was the factor that overturned Hardig’s conviction — and 52-year prison sentence — on appeal.

Court records show one juror submitted an affidavit after the trial, saying she signed a guilty verdict form even though she did not believe the state proved its case because she was exhausted and wanted to leave. Jurors deliberated from 3 p.m. until 2:30 a.m., eventually returning the guilty verdict because they thought a hung jury was not permitted.

Judge Richard Schoenstedt sentenced Hardig to 52 years in prison in November 2006.

Hardig’s case was sent back to Will County in 2009 by the Third District Appellate Court.

But two recent psychiatric evaluations of Hardig led Judge Robert Livas to find him unfit for trial April 17.

Hardig was transferred to the Department of Human Services for inpatient treatment. His case is scheduled for May 29 for an update on his condition.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2013. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)