Woman gets 65 years for guilty but mentally ill Fort Wayne murder plea

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Allen County Courthouse (IL file photo)

A judge Friday sentenced a Fort Wayne woman to the maximum 65 years after she pleaded guilty but mentally ill to murder for shooting a 20-year-old rival.

A plea agreement that Valerie Rose Hardiek, 24, entered into earlier this year in the June 20, 2021, shooting death of Shelby Vonholdt did not restrict the length of her sentence.

Allen Superior Judge David Zent said the murder was premeditated and that while Hardiek had a difficult upbringing and mental issues, she also had an escalating criminal history.

Hardiek’s attorney, Jamie Egolf, said Hardiek suffered abuse as a child, suffered the loss of a stepmother and was treated for mental illness.

Deputy Allen County Prosecutor Tom Chaille said Vonholdt was dating someone Hardiek “was attached to and that’s why she killed her.”

Police and medics were called to a Fort Wayne home after receiving a 911 hang-up and found Vonholdt had been shot multiple times in the chest and abdomen. Vonholdt died shortly later at a hospital.

Court records say Vonholdt identified the shooter as “Valerie” and video from a doorbell camera showed Hardiek’s vehicle leaving the scene.

Hardiek was arrested two days after the shooting in Van Wert County, Ohio. Police there said she pointed a gun at a customer at a convenience store.

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