A judge accepted Thomas Hardy’s guilty plea in exchange for the prosecutor to not pursue the death penalty.
Hardy was given the maximum sentence of life imprisonment without parole, due to aggravating circumstances of a lengthy criminal history and the nature of the offense. He also received an additional term of 40 years at the Indiana Department of Corrections for the robbery and firearm charges. A formal sentencing hearing is scheduled for April 5. Hardy cannot appeal the conviction or sentence.
Officer Moore was shot several times during a traffic stop in January 2011. In court, Hardy admitted to intentionally killing Officer Moore, firing his weapon seven times and striking the officer five times.
Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry announced in February 2011 he would pursue the death penalty against Hardy.
"We believe the evidence will clearly show that this senseless killing was intentional while Officer Moore was doing nothing more than performing his routine duties," said Curry in February 2011.
However, at a news conference following Wednesday’s hearing, Prosecutor Curry announced he was approached by Hardy’s council in February 2012 regarding the possibility of the plea agreement.
Prosecutor Curry said he met with the family of Officer Moore to discuss their wishes and discuss the terms of the plea agreement. Curry said they would only consider life without parole if that would bring peace to the victim’s family
“The wishes of the Moore family trump all other considerations,” said Prosecutor Curry. “The bottom line is that Mr. Hardy has admitted he intentionally killed Officer David Moore and for that he will die in prison.
“When pursuing any homicide case, we give significant consideration to the opinions and the wishes of the victim’s family. In making the decision to accept Hardy’s plea, I believe the wishes of the Moore family for finality and certainty trump all other considerations. With grace and dignity, Jo and Spencer Moore have allowed us to grieve the devastating loss of their son with them. Any amount of peace of mind we can give them, we will.”
Officer Moore’s parents spoke out Wednesday, thanking the officers and hopeful about moving on.
“We are proud of the officers and their professionalism in finding Hardy on that fateful day,” said Jo Moore, Officer Moore’s mother. “The entire department kept honor in our warrior's death. Everyone has shared our sorrow. It's hard to be a survivor and I'm just glad we're coming out of this the best we can."
Officer Moore’s father, Spencer Moore, said the plea agreement does not indicate a weakening in the punishment for those who take violent actions against officers.
"I hope that you understand that by showing compassion, we honor him and his fellow officers," said father Spencer Moore. "It is our hope that today ends this, it is resolved and we can now begin to rebuild our lives.”