BY JENNIFER CABRERA
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Demetrius Aponcedeleon Hardy, 21, has been sentenced to 25 years in state prison following a nolo contendere plea to charges of Second Degree Murder, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and battery by a person detained in a jail facility.
Hardy was arrested on March 9, 2020, and charged with the murder of Kayla Jackson (also known as Kayla Bing) and the attempted murders of Elijah Hinde and Deorlos Anderson, Jr., in the early morning hours of March 6, 2020. Hardy had just been released from prison on February 2, 2020, after serving a 2-year sentence for grand theft and fleeing. Hardy had earlier served a sentence of 1 year and 7 days for discharging a firearm from a vehicle, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, burglary, and battery. Hardy first went to state prison at the age of 17.
According to a press release from State Attorney Brian Kramer’s office, Jackson’s family wanted to participate in the Restorative Justice Project, which set up a meeting between Hardy and Jackson’s family. The Restorative Justice Project was facilitated by Gretchen Casey of the Amend Initiative. According to the release, “Restorative justice is a process which seeks to restore balance and repair harm. The defendant must be willing to admit he or she caused harm.”
Hardy entered a nolo contendere plea to a reduced charge of Second Degree Murder, which has a maximum sentence of Life and a minimum sentence of 25 years in Hardy’s case. He will serve the full 25 years, with credit for 843 days time served. He was also sentenced to 20 years for a reduced charge of aggravated battery, 15 years for the firearm possession charge, and 185 days (time already served) for the battery by a detainee charge. All the sentences will be served concurrently.