Killer dog owner picked up for violating conditions of release

........................................................................................................................................................................................

The owner of the dogs that killed a woman in Truth or Consequences in April 2011 allegedly violated his conditions of release earlier this month in Magdalena.

John Hardiman, of T or C, had applied to serve as security at the Wild Bunch Reunion Association Rodeo in Magdalena on May 12. That type of law enforcement position would have allowed him to make arrests and use force if necessary, said Magdalena Marshal Chief Larry Cearley. When Cearley did a background check on Hardiman and the other applicants for the position, Hardiman’s name was flagged by the Sierra County Sheriff’s Department. After Hardiman’s arrest for violating his conditions of release, police found a .357 Magnum hand gun and a knife in his car, Cearley said. Possessing these weapons and leaving Sierra County were in violation of Hardiman’s conditions of release, said Robert Gary Cates, senior prosecutor for the District Attorney’s Office for the Seventh District Court, and could affect whether or not he remains in police custody.

Cates is serving as prosecutor in Hardiman’s trial, set for Aug. 27 in district court in T or C. A motions hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. today (Wednesday, May 30) at the Sierra County Courthouse.

The motion hearing will decide if Hardiman remains in police custody in T or C or if he can stay in his own house, possibly with an ankle bracelet to track his movements.

“I think we’re going to pursue to keep him in custody (because he’s already violated his conditions of release once),” Cates said.

Hardiman’s wife, Maria, who was also charged in the dog attacks, has not violated her conditions of release, Cates said. Both are charged with five counts of keeping an animal known to be vicious and liable to attack human beings.

The conditions of release were placed on Hardiman because of the incident in which he and his wife’s four pit bulls attacked Margaret Salcedo on the sidewalk outside of their T or C residence in 2011. The attack eventually led to Salcedo’s death a few hours later.

The August trial will determine if Hardiman and his wife are responsible for Salcedo’s death. The sticking point in the case is whether or not they knew their pit bulls were dangerous to people.

“They stand accused but not found guilty of anything,” Cates said.