From The Trussville Tribune staff reports
CLAY –Jeremy Conway Hardin, 42, of Clay, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for the murder of Jody Maire Watson of Clay in front of two of her small children on April 7, 2016, according to court records. Watson’s third child had not arrived home from school at the time of the shooting.
Judge Tracie Todd handed down the sentence on October 26 after Hardin pleaded guilty to the slaying. His case was set for trial this month.
On April 7, 2016, deputies were dispatched to the Clay home at Yellowhammer Drive when Hardin called 911 and told the dispatcher that he had shot his girlfriend. Deputies arrived to find Watson in the kitchen dead of a gunshot wound to the back of her head.
At about the same time, a second 911 call was received from a neighbor who reported that two children had come to their house and asked them to call for help because their mother had been shot.
Hardin was released on $50,000 bond just after midnight on April 8, 2016 and had remained free until his sentencing.
It was over a year, in May of 2017, before Harding was indicted by the grand jury for Watson’s murder.
Sheriff’s Office records indicate that deputies had responded to the address on three prior occasions to investigate reports of domestic violence. The most recent occurrence was on March 9, 2016, just about a month before the slaying.
Watson told deputies she was the victim of domestic violence at the hands of Hardin, but declined to seek prosecution.