A $50 AK-47, a Hail of Bullets and a Dead Little Girl: From a Night of Partying to a Day in Court

Categories: Crime, News
hardge 1.jpg
Don Hardge says he bought his AK for $50 from a crackhead.
On Fourth of July weekend in 2008, Don "Dunn" Hardge, an 18-year-old member of Dallas's DFW Mafia gang, stashed his AK-47 in his friend's trunk and walked into an Oak Cliff club. It was a sticky night, made stickier by the presence of nearly 200 sweaty teenage bodies packed into the club. Hardge, wearing an undershirt, baggy shorts and red-and-black Air Force 1's, arrived not long before things got out of hand.

"Nine times out of 10, you're going to a party, there's going to be trouble," Hardge said at a hearing in Dallas County Court on Friday, where he was to be sentenced for his actions that night. That, he said, was why he brought his weapon -- one choice in a series of decisions that lead him to that courtroom, where he sat wearing a gray-striped jail uniform and handcuffs as his family watched him testify.

The "trouble" Hardge referenced started with fighting in the club. The bouncer kicked everyone out, and the crowd spilled into the street. Shots rang out as cars peeled off and people scattered. While everyone was running away, Hardge said, a group ran toward the club, shooting into the crowd.

Hardge ran to his friend's car to pick up the AK-47. He fired in the direction of the gunfire.

"I wasn't thinking," Hardge said, recalling the decision to grab his gun rather than run.

Amidst the chaos, 15-year-old Juanita Payne was struck and killed by a bullet. The bullet hasn't been conclusively tied to Hardge's gun, but it hasn't been ruled out, either.

"It was something to have as a youngster, and it was cheap," Hardge said of the gun, which he bought for $50 from a crackhead. " He remembers squeezing off three shots in the direction of the gunfire. Faced with evidence that 24 shots were fired from his gun, he said, "It all happened so fast; I don't remember."

After the shooting, a grand jury indicted Hardge, now 21, for murder, but the charge was dropped when he plead guilty to engagement in organized criminal activity. He acknowledged that he had taken Xanax earlier that night, and that the drug frequently impaired his memory and changed his mood.  Hardge said he does not believe it was one of his shots that killed Payne because he did not see anyone in front of him. But if it was his bullet, he said, he would tell her family, "if I can take it back, I would."

"I want to apologize to [Judge Thompson] for even being in this courtroom," he said.

Hardge's 3-year-old daughter attended the hearing. He pleaded that he wanted "to be a father to my little girl. She really don't know who I am ... I want to get out, my GED ... I want to get my barber's license." His mother, cousins, uncle, daughter, and his daughter's mother came to the hearing to support Hardge, who had gained weight and added tattoos to his face since his arrest.

The family of the teenage victim didn't address the court, so it was up to prosecutors and police to provide the counterweight to Hardge's family's pleadings. A Dallas gang officer, who'd come in contact with Hardge several times on the streets of Oak Cliff, testified that his most recent tattoos show ongoing loyalty to his gang. The gang unit has found the term "Triple D" inscribed across his cheek, to be affiliated with the DFW Mafia, though Hardge claimed the marking simply signified the city of Dallas.

Prosecutor Dewey Mitchell requested that Hardge get the maximum sentence: 20 years. The judge went a little lighter, sentencing Hardge to 16 -- a number that, according to Mitchell, will be noted by other local gang members, who track judges' decisions in gang-related cases.

"This court has the ability to send a message," he said.

The court should get another chance soon: Another teen, who's been in custody for three years, still awaits sentencing on assault charges from the same night.
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26 comments
johngotti13
johngotti13

Fuck all you hoes that got something to say bout Dunn Dunn he wasn't the only person shooting and they ain't got evidence that his bullets hit somebody he most known so that's who the laws went after

Josh O
Josh O

HA HA HA........he may have only received 16 yrs folks..............but thats 16 yrs this piece of S###  won't be free amongst the rest of us.  What a stupid boofer.  He and all his ilk like him can rot in hell.....or die on the streets killing each other.....I for one....could care less. Good ridance !!!

Crazy
Crazy

Put 'em in burlap sacks, tie the tops shut then throw 'em in the river when they are born and we can end all of this b.s. Because it is obvious to everyone that by 8 or 9 nine years of age the mom no longer has control over them and they are raised by other killer's!

40
40

Fucc dun and anybody who down wit dat bitch ass nigga

BugsMom
BugsMom

Ummmm, Xanax makes you sleepy and relaxed. Not reaching for an AK-47. Hellllooooo its anti  anxiety  drug.

Comprehend what you read
Comprehend what you read

And if you'd have taken the time to actually peruse all the articles you would have read that the xanax combined with the other drugs had the opposite effect

CAMSHEEL
CAMSHEEL

So you want to be a father of your daughter 3yrs    But high on drugs you TOOK the life of another familty's daughter. You are scum  I hope you rot in prison. 

Kuei
Kuei

DFW Mafia?Sort for Dumb Fucking Wannabe Mafia. Al Capone is laughing in his grave.

Mike
Mike

What do the 2 other "d's" represent if he was honoring our fair city with his jailhouse tat?  Didn't that Bravo show cover on getting ready for a party in South Dallas:  fashionable suit, check.  Good cologne, check.  AK-47, check.  You are good to go.

GusMitchem
GusMitchem

Why isnt this aggrevated murder ? Intoxication, poession of the weapon, dead person ?

Wonder how anyone defends this type of behavior, because the bullet richochets and fragments it cant be proven the source, how about intent, what did he indend to happen.

I really wonder about a culture that creates this environment, over and over again. Is there that much profit in charging a big cover charge so dudes can go look at big asses in skimpy clothes, then argue and fight when the testosteron gets all reved up.

Renegade
Renegade

The article indicates he testified at a sentencing hearing, not the guilt/innocence phase.  I suspect many of the witnesses during that phase had questionable credibility.  The issue with whose bullet it was is unusual as well.  And, it says he pled guilty to engaging in organized criminal activity in exchange for reduced charges.  Hopefully, Judge Thompson will stack the two sentences. 

Crazy
Crazy

Wouldn't make the possibility of an appeal even more likely?

Guest
Guest

Is it really worth mentioning that a guy named Don goes by the "nickname" Dunn?

Crazy
Crazy

Dung... Why is it from Coast to coast these people purposely mispronounce a name like Dontè (that sounds like the word "fawn,") with a "U" firmly supplanted on their tongue's completely changing the sound of the correct spelling to "Dun." Now, in the past several years I have noticed they are changing the spelling to reflect the sound they are looking for... Dontè is becoming Duntè... Donald Hardge is called "Dun" but now I spell that differently as well so I am no better than they are, I spell it like this "Dung."

CV Gilkeson
CV Gilkeson

I'm just pissed this moron added to the gene pool by having a daughter. Sometimes I think the movie "Idiocracy" is a prophesy instead of a comedy.

trannyntraining
trannyntraining

It's like a family reunion for these bangers when they are hauled off to prison. He'll be a street legend by the time he gets out. God, why can't these fools just die off?

Heywood U Buzzoff
Heywood U Buzzoff

Sixteen years for randomly spraying TWENTY FOUR shots into a crowd!  What a bargain!! That is less that a year per round.  With time off for 'good behavior', Don "Dunn" Hardge will be about in twelve years.  That works out to six months per shot!  Maybe they will cut even more time off his sentence and he will be able to get another bargain. But by then the judge and lawyers will probably be retired a long away away from this stupid jerk. 

TimCov
TimCov

Disgusting. An idiot fired a weapon randomly into a crowd and killed someone. And all he got was 16 years?! I don't care if he was "only" 18 at the time. I, and every person I knew at 18 also knew better than to fire a weapon into a crowd. 

HEY YOU, IN THE BACK
HEY YOU, IN THE BACK

At 18, my friends didn't fire guns randomly into crowds but they did get drunk struggle to their car and drive home plastered. I guess,occasionally,a person gets killed doing that. I know it's not the same but it kinda is. Cars Don't Kill People. People Kill People .

TimCov
TimCov

And, if a drunk 18 year-old drove his/her killed someone when they were behind the wheel, I would expect that person to be charged with manslaughter and see at least 20 years behind bars.

Sam Arellano
Sam Arellano

You ever notice how they all gain weight in the slam? Our tax dollars at work!!

Craigley
Craigley

It's called getting off crack my friend.

Coleman
Coleman

How dare people in jail get fat on our tax dollars! Lazing around all day in those comfy looking jail-issued pajamas and watching Judge Judy all day! why, we should force them to work while in jail! Then, not only could they pay back tax payers for their incarceration, but they'll be svelte and in the best shape of their lives once they are released!!

Renegade
Renegade

Because, you know, nothing shows "Hey, Judge, I want to be a productive member of society" like getting new jailhouse tats on your face. 

Rooster
Rooster

This dude obviously wasn't the sharpest tool in the shed...

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