Admitted murderer gets over six decades of prison time for 2021 slaying

Valerie Hardiek Mugshot
Valerie Hardiek Mugshot(WPTA)
Published: Sep. 23, 2022 at 3:15 PM EDT
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne’s NBC) - Justice for 20 year-old Shelby Vonholdt has been a long time coming for her friends and family.

Police say that on June 20, 2021, Vonholdt was shot and killed in a home on Eileen Street in Fort Wayne, by someone she knew.

The suspect, Valerie Hardiek, was arrested the next day in Van Wert County, Ohio after waiving a gun at several people according to a probable cause. Hardiek pled guilty, but mentally ill to the murder earlier this year.

In the court room on Friday, Vonholdt’s family shared their memories of Shelby, giving Hardiek, and the judge, a sense of who she was.

Vonholdt’s mother, Shana Pineault says, “She would give anything to anybody. She would help anybody. It didn’t matter how far she had to drive to help somebody or she didn’t have the money or the means, she would find it. She just had the kindest soul and the biggest heart.”

Prosecutors in the case say Hardiek murdered Vonholdt out of jealousy, and her parents say since that day, Hardiek has shown no remorse for shooting their daughter eight times.

“When Valerie pled guilty, just the tone in her voice was one of no remorse,” said Toby Vonholdt, Shelby’s father. “She actually said that I killed Shelby with intent, and just the way that she said it just showed me, and I said it in my statement today, that she actually almost wore that murder like a badge of honor and that just shows me no remorse.”

When given the chance, Hardiek didn’t apologize to Vonholdt’s family or say anything on her behalf.

The defense argued that Hardiek had a tough upbringing and mental health issues, asking for the minimum sentence of 45 years.

Allen County Superior Court Judge David Zent decided to give Hardiek the maximum sentence for murder in Indiana, 65 years in prison, a decision Vonholdt’s parents say the agree with, but doesn’t help with the pain.

Toby Vonholdt says “I really believe that there is no justice in tragedy, or a tragedy like this anyway.” Pineault echoed Shelby’s father, saying “There is no, really, certain amount of time that’s going to make anything any better or any easier on us.”