Patricia Hardesty appeared in Genesee County Court today, disputing her signed statements to police from the night she was accused of shooting her husband in the leg.
Today's proceedings were a Huntley Hearing, a type of hearing which determines the admissibility of statements to police at a trial.
The 52-year-old Hardesty faces three counts of felony assault. State Police allege that on the evening of Aug. 1, 2010, Hardesty walked onto the deck at her County Line Road home in Corfu armed with a .22-caliber rifle, and shot her husband, Robert, in the knee.
Robert Hardesty was seriously injured in the incident. He was transported to ECMC that evening. Patricia was taken to the State Police barracks in Batavia, where Senior Investigator Kenneth Dubrinski questioned her.
Dubrinski testified in court today that Patricia did not seem hesitant to speak with him, and that he took two statements from her. A second was taken, he says, because the first was found to be incorrect or inconsistent after he spoke with officers at the scene via telephone.
Dubrinski told Assistant District Attorney Robert Zickl that he collected Hardesty's statements by "typing them as she talked." Those two statements were entered as evidence in today's hearing.
But Patricia Hardesty says that's not at all how it happened. She says Dubrinski collected "a trash can full" of statements from her, each time printing one out, finding errors or inconsistencies, and tossing it in the garbage. She says she signed as many as five different statements, each one varying slightly from the last in detail.
What's worse, says Hardesty, is that she could not read any of the typed statements being handed to her.
"I was not given Miranda Rights," she said, alleging that the standard rights were not read to her. "(Investigator Dubrinski) said they were at the top of the page there, but I could not read them without my glasses."
She allegedly told Dubrinski as much, so he ordered the glasses brought from the scene. But Hardesty says the glasses delivered were the wrong ones, a 10-year old pair that were too weak for her to use.
"I can't see out of them at all," she said today.
She did, however, sign each statement placed before her, and initialed each printed set of Miranda Rights to confirm that she'd been advised of them.
Hardesty says bits and pieces of her first statement were correct, but altogether it was not correct. She says she told Dubrinski this – and that's when the deluge of statements began.
"He made me so upset, my insides were shaking," she says of Dubrinski. "At the end of it all, I said, 'Just put whatever you want and I'll sign it.' I was tired, I hadn't slept for 24 hours, and I hadn't eaten. There were so many statements, I got confused. I started crying."
Hardesty also accused Dubrinski of improperly recording her statement by trying to make it match other statements from the scene, such as the one from her husband. She says each new draft of the statement included details that more closely matched others' statements – details that she had not necessarily consented to or mentioned.
Hardesty admitted that she'd consumed three or four beers between 3 and 7 p.m. on the evening the incident occurred. She also drank another one after the incident, as she waited for an ambulance to arrive for her husband.
"I was on the deck, and saw that my husband had left a beer there, and I downed it," she said.
Of the original police report, which stated that she and her husband had been fighting all weekend prior to the incident, Hardesty said that was false. She says her husband had not abused her, neither physically nor verbally, and they had not fought.
Judge Robert Noonan did not make a decision in today's hearing. He has taken it under advisement. Defense attorney Mehmet Okay requested a printed transcript of today's proceedings.
The case will resume later this month, 10 days after Okay receives that transcript.