The 53-year-old man who earlier this year was convicted of killing two men at the home they all shared outside Frenchtown and dispatching an effort to kill the only witness has filed to appeal his sentence handed down in state court.
Caressa Jill Hardy, also known as Glenn Lee Dibley, filed his notice of appeal with the Montana Supreme Court on Tuesday. The appeal focuses on retired District Judge James Wheelis' final order in the case — four lifetime prison sentences issued in June.
State Public Appellate Defender Chad Wright was not available to comment on the appeal argument on Friday.
Through his attorney in state district court, Hardy had vowed in June to appeal. A jury found Hardy guilty on two counts of deliberate homicide and two counts of solicitation for murder at the end of a seven-day trial.
Although their remains were never officially recovered and no death certificates ever issued, jurors convicted Hardy of killing his housemates, Robert Orozco, 37, and Thomas Korjack, 62. After investigating the deaths for more than a year, local and federal law enforcement concluded Hardy, believing he was going to be ousted from the home, killed the men. Hardy had fretted about being cut off from the financial generosity of Korjack, a wealthy engineer who disapproved of Korjack's sexuality.
Hardy was amid the process of transitioning to a woman when he was arrested on homicide charges, but maintained his identity as a man. He is currently housed in the Montana State Prison in Deer Lodge (the women's prison is located in Billings).
Karen Jill Hardy, his former wife and mother of his children, alleged Hardy had not just begun transitioning to a woman, but seemed to be taking on her identity, mirroring her hair, clothes and partially taking her name. Karen Hardy had fallen out of love with Hardy and had a new attention in Orozco. The three of them, along with Korjack, met in Wyoming, and moved to the Frenchtown home together in late 2012.
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At trial, neighbors remembered a "rank" smell the following spring that lasted nearly a week after Hardy had a bonfire.
No one reported Korjack and Orozco missing until Karen Hardy walked into an eastern Montana police station in 2016, three years later. She told authorities Korjack, who had been paying for the Frenchtown home and their lifestyles, had come home to find Hardy in bed with a man — he didn't mind Hardy being transgender, but would not accept him as gay.
Fearing he would be cut off from the group, Hardy shot Korjack and Orozco, sparing Karen Hardy as she held her baby in the basement of their home, she told authorities. Several months after Hardy was arrested in 2017, forensic investigators and university researchers found bone fragments from two people in Hardy's fire pit, torched so badly that DNA could not be extracted.
After his arrest, Hardy solicited two people to seek out and kill Karen Hardy, the only witness to the killings. Those inmates went to police after Hardy's requests.
Hardy had lashed out at the judge and his own attorney, Britt Cotter, during the trial, even trying to remove Cotter for ineffective assistance of counsel the same day the defense rested its case. Hardy had hoped to call a witness that Cotter would not, but Wheelis denied Hardy any chance to take the reins so late in the case.
"I've frankly never seen a defense counsel, including myself, work so hard," Wheelis told Hardy then. "He's obviously got your interest at heart and mind."
Missoula County Attorney Kirsten Pabst on Friday said she had seen Hardy's notice of appeal, but not the grounds on which Hardy is arguing.