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Posted on Wed, Nov 25, 2009 : 8:08 a.m.

Crime novelist ordered to stand trial in father's shooting in Dexter Township

By Lee Higgins

The day her cat died, Ann Arbor area crime novelist Lisa Ann Reardon drove to her father's Dexter Township home and shot him, her sister testified in court Tuesday.

Reardon always pledged she was "gonna do this" when her beloved cat Godfrey died, said Angela Hicks, who spoke to her sister shortly after the shooting as Reardon drove with her cat's carcass in the car.

At the end of the preliminary hearing Tuesday, a judge found there was enough evidence to order 47-year-old Reardon to stand trial on charges of assault with intent to murder and felony possession of a firearm.

Hicks testified she encouraged her sister to turn herself in after she shot her father in the leg and buttocks.


Lisa Reardon

“I said, ‘Lisa, you know you shot dad in the ass,” Hicks testified. “She said, ‘Yeah, I can’t believe I missed. I’ll never get another chance…I always told myself when Godfrey died, I’m gonna do this.”

14A District Court Chief Judge Kirk Tabbey referred to that conversation as he denied a request by Washtenaw County Assistant Public Defender Christopher Renna to lower Reardon’s $500,000 bond.

“I personally believe with her literary ability she chooses her words very carefully,” Tabbey said.

Tabbey said Reardon strikes him as someone who has a “serious, serious problem with her father, which means it runs pretty deep.”

Details about Reardon’s relationship with her father, 68-year-old George Hicks, did not emerge during Tuesday’s preliminary hearing.

Hicks testified he was watering plants outside about 7:30 p.m. Aug. 21 when Reardon pulled her car into his driveway on Brand Road.

She had talked to him on the phone about visiting because she “wanted to come over and straighten a few things out before a wedding the next day,” he said.

Reardon got out of the car, pointed a gun at him and fired, hitting him in the leg and buttocks as he ran, he testified.

“I was running for the door to get in the house and telling my wife to get in the house because she was outside also,” he said.

Hicks ran into the house through a door to the garage and shut the door behind him and locked it, he testified. He told his wife to call 911.

Reardon fired another shot by the doorknob, he testified.

“She said, ‘Open the door. Open the door,” he said. “It just blew that doorknob all to pieces, but it still held.”

She then fired two more shots through the door about 11 inches higher than the first shot, Hicks testified. He told her she better leave before police arrive.

“You’ve done enough damage,” he recalls saying.

Hicks' wife, Pamela, testified her daughter and 1-year-old grandson were inside the home at the time. Pamela Hicks was sitting in the garage and saw Reardon in the driveway, raising a gun.

“She said, ‘Let’s just clear the air right now,” Pamela Hicks testified. “I just saw the gun kind of bobble up and down a little bit,”

Pamela Hicks ran inside after the first shot. Her husband shut the door behind them. She heard another shot. “I heard a shot and turned around to see if he was still alive,” she said.

Pamela Hicks grabbed the phone from her daughter, telling her to go upstairs with the baby, and called 911.

Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Deputy Harry Valentine responded to the shooting and found a shell casing to a .20-gauge shotgun in the garage and a single shot .20-gauge shotgun near the driveway. The shotgun needed to be unloaded and reloaded after each shot, he testified.

“There was a live round in the chamber when we found it,” he said.

Investigators said Reardon was 17 feet from her father when she fired the first shot.

Under cross-examination, George Hicks said he hasn’t had much contact with Reardon in the past 15 years, but when he did “noticed she had a lot of stress on her.”

Hicks also said he didn’t go to the hospital until about 90 minutes after the shooting.

Renna asked, “Do you have any idea why on August 21st Lisa came over to your house and did this?”

Hicks replied, “Yes.” He did not elaborate.

When Angela Hicks met Reardon at about 9:20 p.m. that night in a parking lot at Tanger Outlets - Kensington Valley in Howell, Livingston County sheriff’s deputies were waiting.

Hicks testified she took Godfrey, gave Reardon a hug and told her she loved her. She said Reardon was reluctant to turn herself in "because they’ll impound the car with Godfrey in it,” Hicks testified.

“She loved her cat,” Hicks said. “He had been with her almost 20 years.”

Investigators said they found $2,819 cash in Reardon’s car, with a receipt indicating it was withdrawn that day.

Reardon had a live round and at least two spent shell casings in her possession, Valentine testified. Prosecutors said Reardon went to a pawn shop to obtain the gun and learn how to use it.

Investigators also recovered documents, including a list called “50 Ways,” which outlines 50 ways to kill someone - ranging from hanging to making it look like a hunting accident, prosecutors said.

Renna argued Reardon could simply have been generating ideas for murder mysteries.

Reardon, who was living in Ann Arbor last summer, has written a number of novels, including “The Mercy Killers,” based in Ypsilanti. She has no criminal record.

In one document found by investigators, Reardon wrote, “What if I kill dad, will there be a point to that?” said Washtenaw County Assistant Prosecutor Dianna Collins.

Collins said, “I think, your honor, if there is any reduction in this bond, she will go and kill him.”

Lee Higgins covers crime and courts for Reach him at (734) 623-2527 or by email at



Thu, Nov 26, 2009 : 1:24 a.m.

Saline Sweetie-thanks for the input. It is obvious that something occured between Lisa Reardon and her father. Thus him answering that he had an idea of why she shot him. Also, given the fact that she hasn't had contact with in over 15yrs., there does seem to be some unpleasant history.

Black Coffee :)

Thu, Nov 26, 2009 : 1:19 a.m.

Miss Reardon most definitely has emotional problems and as the court plays out hopefully staff will keep us updated


Wed, Nov 25, 2009 : 8:29 p.m.

I am also confused--Did her Dad kill the cat or something?


Wed, Nov 25, 2009 : 8:11 p.m.

julieswhimsies the follow statment would have been good enough for me. "Reardon always pledged she was "gonna do this" when her beloved cat Godfrey died, said Angela Hicks,"


Wed, Nov 25, 2009 : 7:09 p.m.

I'm wondering if this woman showed any signs of mental illness before she carried out her plan.

Westside Patty

Wed, Nov 25, 2009 : 4:10 p.m.

I didn't have any problems following this story. (Even though I generally do find it easier to read a printed newspaper.)Nice work Lee. As for the incident itself, what a sad situation for the entire family.


Wed, Nov 25, 2009 : 11:44 a.m.

"They're just cats" In all seriousness, the story shows how some kind of contact -- even contact with pets -- can help to keep people sane. Or at least, behaving sanely.

Some Guy in 734

Wed, Nov 25, 2009 : 9:14 a.m.

Tony--well, you *changed* it, but it's not exactly *fixed*. By calling her "Hick's wife", you now have Pamela as the wife of someone named Hick.


Wed, Nov 25, 2009 : 9:03 a.m.

Wolfgang makes a good point. Haven't any of you ever had a cat dart across your path and trip you? Every time that happens, the cat is attempting to take you out. It's true. I bet the Hardy Boys would agree with us on this one, Wolfgang.


Wed, Nov 25, 2009 : 8:54 a.m.

Are we really complaining about a few technical errors in the writing of this story? Overall I think Lee did a great job; give him a break. And why are people downplaying the potential role of the cat in this story? Haven't you ever seen Murder She Wrote? You have to pay attention to every detail. The cat could have played a bigger part in all of this than you realize.


Wed, Nov 25, 2009 : 8:49 a.m.

Who doesn't enjoy reading about a beloved cat in a story?! I thought the detail about Godfrey was interesting. It gives a glimpse into the shooter's life. Good story Lee!

Some Guy in 734

Wed, Nov 25, 2009 : 8:13 a.m.

Initially I was thrown by all the "characters" named Hicks, who were referred to as simply "Hicks". It seems clearer now, perhaps because I'm a bit more awake. It also took me a while to sort out that a comma was incorrectly used an apostrophe, in "Hicks, wife, Pamela testified..." At first I read it as if it were three people testifying--Hicks, wife, and Pamela--instead of one. "He told her she better leave before police arrive" also stood out to me. If informal speech like this can't be captured in quotes, I tell you you better render it differently.

Lee Higgins

Wed, Nov 25, 2009 : 7:12 a.m.

Hi Some Guy in 734, Thanks for the comment. What's unclear? Maybe I can help you out.

Some Guy in 734

Wed, Nov 25, 2009 : 6:58 a.m.

What does the cat have to do with the story? I would guess that she knew she'd be going away after the shooting, and so was reluctant to proceed while the cat still relied on her. That's pure conjecture, though, which is probably why it didn't make it into the story.

Some Guy in 734

Wed, Nov 25, 2009 : 6:49 a.m.

racerx--You're right. This story could benefit from a thorough workout with a red pencil. I kept jumping back, thinking, "wait--did I miss a detail that would help me understand better?" I'm not sure what's the bigger irony: that a story about a crime novelist is such a clumsy jumble, or that in a case where a deceased cat plays an unusually prominent role, Tabbey refuses to reduce the bond.


Wed, Nov 25, 2009 : 5 a.m.

That was a difficult story to read! Needs editing! When did she go inside the house and call? However, it should be interesting to see why she went to shoot her father, especially since he testified that he knew why. But what does the cat have to with this story? Who said it, "tragedies are comedies in reverse". Give her 5yrs. and extensive counseling. Oh, and have her Dad buy her a new cat! This should keep him alive for the rest of HIS life!


Wed, Nov 25, 2009 : 2:11 a.m.

crazy cat lady!!! Whoooo hoooo!

John of Saline

Wed, Nov 25, 2009 : 12:53 a.m.

So. Awkward Thanksgiving, I guess. Worse if she were out on bond, of course.