After deliberating for a full day Wednesday, a military jury recessed without a verdict in a felony murder and arson trial of a Robins Air Force Base airman.
Charles Amos Wilson III, 28, is accused of conspiring with Demetrius and Infini Hardy to burn down his rented Warner Robins home Oct. 2, 2011, for $40,000 in insurance money on his belongings.
Demetrius Hardy, 27, died several days later at an Augusta burn center from injuries sustained from an explosion during the fire.
Infini Hardy, 36, was indicted in October 2013 by a Houston County grand jury on two counts of arson and one count of burglary related to the fire.
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The defense’s position is that the Hardys acted independently of Wilson, conspiring to burglarize his home and cover their tracks with the fire.
Jurors deliberated for about 7½ hours Wednesday before recessing for the day. They also deliberated about an hour the previous day before recessing.
Wednesday, jurors listened to a replay of testimony of three witnesses, including Warner Robins police detective Jeff Herb. Herb testified that Wilson waited two hours before calling him back about his home being burned down. The prosecution contends that Wilson was calling others during that time to find out what happened to Demetrius Hardy. The defense argued that was merely speculation, though the prosecution produced cellphone records.
Herb also said Wilson had his motorcycle in a shed on the property that was not burned in the fire. The prosecution contended that was because Wilson did not want his motorcycle to burn. The defense countered that the motorcycle was in the shed because it was being repaired.
Robert Hardy, the father of Demetrius Hardy, testified that his son was able to nod answers to questions while he was in the Augusta burn center before he died.
Robert Hardy testified that his son nodded that someone had “done this” to him, but that someone was not Infini Hardy, anyone in the motorcycle clubs his son and Wilson rode in or anyone in the Air Force.
Christina Collins testified that Wilson had her pull over in Warner Robins as she was driving Infini Hardy and another woman, who was Wilson’s girlfriend at the time, to the Augusta burn center to see Demetrius Hardy. She said Infini Hardy got out of the car and talked with Wilson. Then Infini Hardy got back in the vehicle, and the women continued their drive to Augusta.
The prosecution contended that Wilson wanted her to stick to a story she testified she contrived to protect herself, her husband and Wilson who conspired to torch the home. But the defense said Hardy only implicated Wilson two years after the fire when she was indicted and facing the possibility of prison and the loss of her children to foster care.
A two-thirds majority of the jury, which in this case is a seven-member court-martial panel, is required to render a verdict. Civilian courts require a unanimous vote of a jury.
The same jury also determines the sentence. Wilson is facing life in prison without parole, or life in prison with the possibility of parole, in Hardy’s death.
The trial is the first of three courts-martial proceedings against Wilson being held at the Houston County Courthouse in Perry.
The second, scheduled to begin next week, involves the alleged assault of a retired female technical sergeant by Wilson in July 2012. In the third proceeding, Wilson is charged with the Aug. 29, 2013, premeditated murder of his fiancée, who was 8½ months pregnant when she was fatally shot in her Dawson home.