The Assault of Charles Hardeman

When we think of true crimes, it is true that we most often think of murder. But of course crime is not always about murder. A crime is anything obviously that is against the law.  Even still this case really should be about murder and if not for the will to live that 18 year old Charles Hardeman had, it would be.

On April 11, 2012 in Holly Springs Mississippi police were called to a one vehicle accident.  When they arrived on the scene they found that a young man in a pick up had ran into a tree at likely a high rate of speed.  They reached the victim and while the car crash had caused major injuries they noticed something very odd.... his clothes seemed to be soaking wet and he appeared to be choking on water.  A short while later, while still at the scene another call comes into authorities.  This time it is for a house fire.  Investigators learn that the address of the fire and the address associated with the truck were the same.

Now, I am going to jump in here for a second with some discrepancies I found in my research.  Just who's house this was that was on fire is up for question. Some things say that it was Charles' father's house, some say it was "a house he was staying at," and some say it was "his house" which would indicate it was his mothers.  The idea that it was just a "house he was staying at" does not make a lot of sense.  First, there was more than one indication that the truck that was crashed was in fact Charles' truck as well as more than one indication that the address on the registration of the truck and the house fire matched. I do recall seeing this story on either Dateline or 48 Hours, but again I am unsure who's house it was, but it would have been belonged to one of his parents. Considering the twists and turns involved in this story, there did not seem to be any clear report on what sort of damage was done to the home.

When investigators got to the house fire it was pretty obvious that this was a case of arson as they found gas cans outside the home.  However, by the time Charles was at the hospital he was not in any condition to communicate.  At some point that night he suffered a stroke which left him even more unable to communicate and so investigators had to wait to get information but they knew something was not right.  Doctors were unsure that Charles was going to survive which worried investigators even more.  They did as much searching as they could (of the home and the vehicle) while they waited for Charles to recover enough to answer easy questions.  It took a bit but despite still having a ventilator Charles was able to answer simple questions like... Yes, he knew who had attacked him... Yes, he had been placed in the pond near the home...    What he could not literally tell them just yet was exactly who it was that was involved or why. So going with what little information they had investigators looked at people close to Charles and also sent divers to the pond.  Divers were able to find a belt, attached to a weight.  They later determined this had been attached to Charles' feet when he was thrown into the pond.  His attackers never expected him to survive.  By some miracle, the material in the belt had given way and allowed Charles to find his way to the top of the pond.  He had then somehow found his way to his truck but he was not truly completely conscious hence just down the road he had lost control and hit a tree.  Had he not gotten out of the pond and into the truck it is possible that he would have never been found.  Authorities would have gone to the house fire and sure they would have seen the pond but it is unlikely they would have been looking for him, especially any time soon considering his mother would have let them know what a good swimmer he was.  

Eventually as Charles would recover, arrests would be made.  In all five people would be arrested, although charges would be dropped against one of those five.  The two initial arrests were of Kevin Schrock and Gregory Jenkins.  Schrock would have charges later dropped against him.  His attorney had very quickly stated that there was video proof that he was not at the crime scene when the crime occurred but I am unsure if this was valid evidence and proven, as well as the reason charges were dropped.  The third arrest is the one that shocked everyone... Ashley Hardeman..... Charles' 19 year old sister.  Just after her arrest, two more arrest warrants were issued.  One was for Xavier Cornelius Parks and the other was for his half brother, Alexander Carter.  

In the end since most of the the participants took plea deals there was little said as to motive or reasoning.  However, a television episode (likely either Dateline or 48 Hours) gave a little information on this.  According to that show at least, the motive was that Charles had saved up a bunch of money to take his girlfriend to an upcoming prom.  This seems like such a weak motive considering that some of the participants were in their mid to late 20's and although people have been murdered for less things, this just seemed a bit overdone.  Charles and his mother were especially vocal about wanting the perpetrators found and prosecuted... that is until Ashley was arrested.  Then they clammed up and apparently simply wanted it over as quickly as possible.  

In August of 2012 Ashley, Gregory and Xavier pleaded guilty to one count of information regarding conspiracy to commit grand larceny and one count of information regarding accessory after the fact to aggravated assault.  It seems that they were given 5 years for each count to run consecutively... but it also appears that these sentences may have been suspended also so they only received probation.  As far as Alexander Carter, the last I found was his case was still being looked at by a grand jury.  I suspect that the only reason that everyone got off so easily is because Ashley was involved and that is sad.  It is likely that the family just wanted things to be settled quickly and repair things as a family but I am unsure I think that was an adequate lesson. In the end a young man was nearly beaten to death and then his feet were bound and tied to a weight while his nearly lifeless body was thrown into a body of water.  His perpetrators never expected him to survive and it was not their intention for him to.  It is likely that the house was burned in attempts to remove their own DNA from the area.  It will not surprise me in the least to hear these people are in the news again and have committed more crimes.

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