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Associated Press
Thomas Hardy drew a life sentence for the slaying of police officer David Moore during a traffic stop.

Police killer spared death penalty

– A man who admitted he shot and killed an Indianapolis police officer during a traffic stop was sentenced Thursday to life in prison without parole plus 40 years.

Thomas Hardy apologized for the killing of officer David Moore during a sentencing hearing in a Marion County court.

“I don’t know why this happened,” the 61-year-old Indianapolis man told a courtroom crowded with Moore’s family, fellow officers and officials.

“I know you have hate in your heart for me, but not as much as I have for myself,” he said. “What happens to me doesn’t make any difference now. All I can say is I’m sorry.”

Judge Mark Stoner accepted the plea agreement under which Hardy avoids the death penalty. Hardy pleaded guilty last month to charges of murder, robbery with a deadly weapon and possession of a handgun by a serious violent felon.

At the time of the January 2011 shooting, Hardy was on parole and facing theft charges from an earlier arrest.

Moore’s mother, Jo Moore, wept as she read from a statement she had prepared.

“I needed to tell you face to face – I’m really horrified because you executed my little boy,” she told Hardy. “I’m grateful you are willing to take the plea. I’ll work on forgiveness.”

Moore, a six-year veteran of the department, was shot twice in the face and once in the thigh during a traffic stop Jan. 23, 2011. He died days later.

Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry, who had sought the death penalty for Hardy, said he accepted the deal only at the urging of Moore’s parents.

Spencer and Jo Moore said they accepted Hardy’s plea because it’s what the officer would have wanted.

“What we felt was that once Mr. Hardy had asked for compassion from us, it was our duty to provide it,” said Spencer Moore, a retired police officer. “By showing compassion, we actually honored (David) and honored the fellow officers.”