An Indiana woman who pleaded guilty but mentally ill for a murder motivated by jealousy has been sentenced to more than six decades behind bars.
Valerie Rose Hardiek, 23, was handed a 65-year prison term on Friday for the 2021 murder of Shelby von Holdt, 20, who was shot to death at her Waynedale home, part of Fort Wayne, Indiana, according to CBS Fort Wayne affiliate WANE-TV. Allen County prosecutor Tom Chaille said Hardiek shot von Holdt multiple times in the chest and abdomen because the defendant was jealous.
“Shelby was seeing somebody Valerie was attached to, and that’s why she killed her,” said Chaille.
On June 20, 2021, local authorities responded to von Holdt’s home at around 6:45 p.m. after receiving a hang-up call from the residence. The victim was still alive when responders arrived and identified the shooter as “Valerie” before being taken to the hospital.
Photo: Van Wert County Sheriff's Office
According to NBC Fort Wayne affiliate WPTA, von Holdt sustained eight gunshot wounds in total.
The victim’s mother, Shana Pineault, told the CBS affiliate it took two days for her daughter to die, and she did so only after four unsuccessful abdominal surgeries, 20 blood transfusions and the projected outcome of von Holdt needing both legs amputated.
“I couldn’t do anything for her,” Pineault said in court. “All I could do was lay my head on her chest as she lay in a medically induced coma.”
On top of von Holdt identifying Hardiek as her killer, Ring doorbell footage also captured Hardiek’s vehicle fleeing the scene.
One day after the murder, several people reported seeing a woman with a gun at around 10:30 a.m. at the RoadDog convenience store in Willshire, Ohio — about 30 miles southeast of Fort Wayne.
“The caller advised the woman had been at the gas pumps for over an hour and acted as if she was trying to read credit card numbers from other customers,” according to the Van Wert County Sheriff’s Office. “Sheriff Riggenbach also stated his office received a second call about this woman, with the caller advising the woman pointed the gun in his back.”
The woman, soon identified as Valerie Hardiek, was arrested without incident and charged with felony assault and aggravated menacing. In her possession was a 9mm handgun, which reportedly was the same kind of firearm used in the fatal shooting of Shelby von Holdt, according to WANE-TV.
In July, Hardiek pleaded guilty but mentally ill to the crime. Her defense attorney, Jamie Egolf, cited factors such as child abuse, the death of Hardiek’s stepmother and an alleged history of mental health issues to plead Hardiek’s case.
Prosecutors, however, noted that Hardiek’s criminal behavior had been escalating and that, at the time of the murder, she was out on pretrial release as part of a diversion program related to pending trespassing charges, per the Journal Gazette.
At her Friday sentencing hearing, Hardiek’s defense sought the minimum sentence of 45 years, according to WPTA, while prosecutors argued for the maximum.
Von Holdt’s father, Toby von Holdt, spoke at Friday’s hearing, according to WANE-TV.
“There’s no justice in tragedy,” said Mr. von Holdt. “Christ has told me to do this. I know Shelby is with God.”
He then reflected on Hardiek's guilty plea.
“When Valerie pled guilty, just the tone in her voice was one of no remorse,” said Mr. Von Holdt, according to WPTA. “She actually said that, ‘I killed Shelby with intent,’ and just the way she said it, just showed me, and I said it in my statement today, that she actually wore that murder like a badge of honor, and that just shows me no remorse.”
Prosecutor Chaille echoed Mr. van Holdt’s sentiment on Friday by saying, “there have been zero expressions of remorse” coming from Hardiek, according to the Journal Gazette.
Hardiek declined to speak when given the chance.
Superior Court Judge David Judge Zent gave Hardiek the maximum sentence: 65 years.