Hard trial begins next week

Paul Hard

Man accused of shooting autistic teen

MANISTEE — After an unsuccessful attempt in coming to a plea agreement, a Bear Lake man will stand trial next week for a 2012 shooting.

Paul Hard, 43, was arrested on June 24, 2012, on charges of assault with intent to commit murder, home invasion, carrying a concealed weapon and felony firearms violation after an extensive police pursuit. He’s accused of shooting a 14-year-old autistic girl in her Copemish home several times.

During a final status conference on Thursday, Hard said that he has seen the evidence in the case and decline to accept a plea bargain offered by Manistee County Prosecutor Ford Stone.

The trial will start on Wednesday and is scheduled to run through Friday. If needed, it could continue from Sept. 11 to 13.

“I think we’re going to need a fourth day, maybe a fifth,” Stone said.

Hard faces up to life in prison if convicted.

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