LIMA — A Lima man will spend at least the next 24 years behind bars for discharging a firearm and injuring two men sitting on the front porch of a city residence last November.
Raylon Hardy, 30, could spend up to 28 years in prison if he fails to follow institutional rules.
Hardy appeared before Allen County Common Pleas Judge Terri Kohlrieser for sentencing Thursday after pleading guilty in June to two counts of felonious assault, felonies of the second degree. One of the counts carried specifications for Hardy’s use of a firearm and his classification as a repeat violence offender that added mandatory prison terms of three and five years, respectively, to his sentence.
An RVO specification is triggered when defendants are convicted of at least three felonies of violence over a 20-year span.
The grand jury indictment alleged that on Nov. 26 Hardy injured Michael Gooding and Leroy Smith with a deadly weapon. According to statements made in court Thursday, Harding fired at least nine shots from a firearm at Smith and Gooding as they sat unsuspectingly on a front porch in Lima. Both men are over 60 years of age, it was stated.
Smith suffered the most serious injuries and, according to Assistant Allen County Prosecuting Attorney Kenneth Sturgill, is “still having medical problems.”
The shooting, according to other statements in court Thursday, stemmed from a dispute between Hardy and an unspecified individual that reportedly resulted in shots being fired at Hardy’s mother sometime before the Nov. 26 incident. In turn, Hardy took his revenge on what were described as two random targets.
“These victims did nothing to provoke Mr. Hardy. He pointed a firearm at them and pulled the trigger,” Sturgill said in asking for the harshest possible penalty.
Hardy apologized to the victims and to his family. He told Kohlrieser, “None of this is worth me not being able to be out there and be a father to my kids.”
“This (gun play) has got to stop,” the judge said, “but I know it won’t. People out there aren’t listening to what I say. But you made a conscious decision to do this, and it’s lucky people didn’t die.”
In a separate case that reportedly has a direct link to the alleged physical attacks, Hardy is scheduled to stand trial beginning Aug. 31 on 11 drug-related charges. Those include two counts of possession of cocaine, one a first-degree felony and the other a felony of the fifth degree; three counts of trafficking in heroin and five counts of trafficking in a fentanyl-related compound, all third-degree felonies; and one count of possession of heroin, a fourth-degree felony.