The woman calmly walked to the podium, dressed in her green prison jumpsuit. She smiled and joked with the bailiff as the attorneys conferred at the bench. She was handcuffed, so she used her left hand to help raise her right to swear the courtroom oath. Her mother and sisters were in tears as she entered a guilty plea to the two charges–assault with intent to commit murder and use of a firearm in a felony.
Asked by Judge David Swartz what happened on the night of August 21, 2009, at her father’s house in Dexter Township, she replied with an unwavering voice: “I had bought a gun. I drove to his house, and I shot him.”
The judge asked: “Did you intend to kill him?”
“Yes, I did,” said Lisa Reardon firmly.
The prosecuting attorney announced the two sides had reached a sentencing agreement–that Reardon, author of three unflinchingly explicit crime novels filled with family tragedies, would serve four to seventeen years in prison for repeatedly firing a shotgun at her father, George Hicks.
The prosecutor’s office had filed papers quoting Reardon’s psychiatrist as saying she had been “severely traumatized during childhood and early adolescence” and quoting a message to her best friend indicating she had been plotting her father’s demise in the belief that she had to protect her nieces from him.
George Hicks, who was only grazed in the buttocks during the shooting, was not in the courtroom. In October he had told the Ann Arbor Observer that his daughter’s accusations against him were false. Steve Hiller, spokesman for the prosecutor’s office, said the victim was consulted and concurred that “when someone has done what she did, and offers to plead guilty” the plea bargain was appropriate.
The family members and friends present declined comment.
Reardon had previously passed an exam indicating she was mentally competent to stand trial. She will remain in the county jail, where she has been since her arrest the night of the shooting, until her sentencing, which Judge Schwartz scheduled for May 4.