Bonnie Harkey,85,Kidnapped,Buried Alive Was Victim Of Murder-For-Hire-Plot by her own Grandson! The grandmother's caretaker was also killed.Carl Presley & Bruce Harkey sentenced to LWOP,Lillian King sentenced 45 yrs.

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Normal Bonnie Harkey,85,Kidnapped,Buried Alive Was Victim Of Murder-For-Hire-Plot by her own Grandson! The grandmother's caretaker was also killed.Carl Presley & Bruce Harkey sentenced to LWOP,Lillian King sentenced 45 yrs.

Post by Wrapitup on Wed Mar 28, 2012 11:06 pm

SAN SABA (March 28, 2012)--Bonnie Harkey, 85, whose body was found Monday night in a shallow grave in the bottom of a drainage ditch in Leon County, nearly 200 miles from her San Saba County home, was the victim of a murder-for-hire plot that also claimed the life of her housekeeper, Karen Johnson, according to affidavits released Wednesday.

A preliminary autopsy report released earlier in the day said Harkey was likely unconscious, but still alive when she was buried.

The affidavits say that Harkey’s stepson, Bruce Harkey, 59, who was arrested Wednesday on a criminal solicitation of capital murder warrant, offered the woman’s grandson, Carl Wade Pressley, 28, $500 on March 22 to “make her gone this weekend” and said Pressley would receive $55,000 after Harkey’s death.

Pressley told investigators the plan he hatched was to have his common-law wife Lillian King, 25, drop him off at Harkey’s home where he would hide until King signaled him by ringing the doorbell, the affidavits said.

After a practice run on Friday, King dropped Harker off on Sunday, then later called Harkey’s home phone and rang the doorbell, which was the signal for Pressley to emerge and ‘take out” the caretaker, the affidavits said.

Pressley said that when the doorbell rang, he went to the front door, grabbed Johnson from behind and pushed her down.

“Pressley advised me he did not ‘give a second thought’ to Johnson and he proceeded with his plan to kill his grandmother,” the affidavit said.

Johnson’s 10-year-old son found his mother dead Sunday in the doorway of Harkey’s home at 3799 W. U.S. Highway 190, where he often stayed when his mother was working there.

Johnson may have died of a heart attack, according to the affidavits, but a preliminary autopsy report said a ruling on the cause of death is pending.

After killing Johnson, the affidavit said, King drove Pressley and the kidnapped woman off.

Pressley, who also confessed to killing Harkey, according to the affidavits, led authorities to his grandmother’s shallow grave Monday night in an RV Park in Hilltop Lakes in Leon County where Pressley had a trailer.

The preliminary autopsy report released Wednesday says Harkey died of a combination of “homicidal violence comprising blunt force head injuries and probable asphyxia including drowning.”

Water was found in Harkey’s lungs, which indicated she was still breathing when she was buried, Leon County Justice of the Peace Doug Preston said Wednesday.

The fully clothed body was exhumed Tuesday morning, Preston said.

Pressley and King remained in the San Saba County Jail Wednesday, charged with murder in connection with Johnson’s death.

Pressley’s bond was set at $500,000 and King was ordered held in lieu of $250,000 bond.

San Saba County Sheriff L.A. Brown said he would also seek kidnapping charges against the two.

No charges had been filed Wednesday afternoon in Leon County.

Harkey was the owner of Harkey Pecan Farm.

A check of district clerk records in San Saba County showed Harkey's children and stepchildren have filed multiple court documents in a fight over who should be listed as Harkey's guardians and what should happen to her considerable fortune.

Services for both women will be held at the Blaylock Funeral Chapel in San Saba.

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Post by Wrapitup on Wed Mar 28, 2012 11:08 pm

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Post by Wrapitup on Wed Mar 28, 2012 11:12 pm

HARKEYVILLE, Texas (WTW) — Carl Pressley was unreachable for hours Saturday night, and when he finally surfaced the news was not good.

"Man, I'm not trying to avoid you, but my grandmother passed away. I'll talk to you later," the Texan said in a phone message, according to the friend who received the voice mail.

Now, Pressley is accused of kidnapping his 87-year-old adoptive grandmother, Bonnie Harkey, who was later found dead, and killing the woman who cared for her. His common-law wife, Lillian King, also faces a kidnapping charge for the grandmother and murder for the caretaker.

The body of 50-year-old caretaker Karen Johnson was found by her 12-year-old son Sunday at Harkey's home in the farming community of Harkeyville in San Saba County in Central Texas. A day later, authorities found Harkey's buried body, nearly 200 miles east in Leon County.

Pressley and King had not been charged with Harkey's death as of Tuesday evening. Leon County sheriff's officials did not return phone messages.

The 28-year-old Pressley, of Leon County, remained in jail on $500,000 bond and King on $250,000 bond. It was not immediately clear if the two had hired attorneys.

Authorities would not comment on a possible motive or weapon used. San Saba County Sheriff Allen Brown wouldn't say how Harkey's body had been concealed but said there were signs of foul play.

"She was taken from the house," the sheriff said. "She had to have been because she couldn't drive herself."

Harkeyville is little more than a village of deeply-rutted dirt roads running between pecan tree groves and farms. What little traffic passes through the area often has to yield to goats, which sometimes roam freely outside fenced-off enclosures. Pressley's relatives say the town was named for the Harkey family, but that the family now owns less than 500 acres of land fertile for growing pecans.

Court records indicate Pressley had worked as a machine operator on his family's pecan farm.

Harkey's stepson, Bruce Harkey, told The Associated Press that Pressley was adopted by the woman's stepdaughter. He said Bonnie Harkey took Pressley in as a teenager and supported him with "hundreds of thousands of dollars" in spending as an adult for purchases including a truck, dozens of new tires and legal expenses.

In 2006, Pressley was convicted of misdemeanor assault for allegedly choking his estranged wife — not King. He was sentenced to probation.

His legal troubles mounted: He served multiple jail stints during the last several years for harassment of his uncle, driving with an invalid license and violating probation when he allegedly threatened his mother.

Through it all, his grandmother continued to support him, Bruce Harkey said.

"Carl ran through money like water," he said. "She's the only woman who ever nurtured, ever cared for him, provided for him, gave him everything in the world that he wanted."

Meanwhile, he said, Bonnie Harkey had declined in health considerably, though she still lived in a home at the family pecan farm. He said she was suffering from dementia and could not recognize him or his wife when he visited her about a month ago.

"We knew that Bonnie was in horrible physical and mental condition," Bruce Harkey said.

He said he saw Pressley last week in San Saba, about four miles west of Harkeyville and 190 miles southwest of Dallas.

Jason Sandlin, the friend who received the Saturday night phone message from Pressley about his grandmother's death, said Pressley was living in Leon County in recent weeks. He said he was trying to help Pressley rebuild his life and start anew.

Sandlin helped Pressley get a trailer in Hilltop Lakes, about 125 miles north of Houston. He said he also tried to line up job interviews for him and gave him gas and rent money.

"I feel like I got stabbed in the back," Sandlin said.

King's mother, Priscilla King, declined to comment.

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Post by Wrapitup on Thu Mar 29, 2012 12:00 am

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Post by raine1953 on Thu Mar 29, 2012 12:24 am

OMG what is going on? These horribly cruel murders are happening right and left! I cannot even read the details of the above posts, I've been having bad dreams every night and I just cannot read anymore. People are horrible!
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Post by Wrapitup on Thu Mar 29, 2012 12:37 am

I'm sorry, Raine. Take a break if you need to. cryingagain :heart:

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Post by Wrapitup on Fri Mar 30, 2012 12:44 pm

Another Family Member Arrested In Bonnie Harkey Murder

San Saba County Sheriff Allen Brown says the stepson of an elderly Central Texas woman whose body was exhumed from a shallow grave in Leon County has been accused of masterminding a plot that left her and her caretaker dead.

Brown reported on Thursday that 86-year-old Bonnie Harkey's grandson Bruce Harkey has been charged with solicitation of capital murder. Harkey was a wealthy businesswoman and the owner of Harkey Pecan Farm. The woman was also the holder of the Harkey family fortune.

Harkey's caregiver, Karen Johnson was found murdered on Sunday at her employers home near Harkeyville. Johnson's body was found by her 10-year-old son. A day later in Leon County, Bonnie Harkey's body was discovered at the Indian Woods Campground at Hilltop Lakes.

Following the crimes, Bruce Harkey answered questions from members of the media and was arrested Wednesday. Bruce Harkey's bond is set at $500,000.

Bonnie Harkey's adoptive grandson Carl Pressley along with his common-law wife Lillian King have both been arrested and charged with the murder of Karen Johnson.

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Post by Wrapitup on Mon Apr 02, 2012 12:02 am

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Post by Wrapitup on Mon Apr 02, 2012 2:37 pm

Victim Of Alleged Murder-For-Hire-Plot Laid To Rest

SAN SABA (April 1, 2012) -- Bonnie Harkey's funeral service was about celebrating her life and not dwelling on her death, said San Saba's First Baptist Church Pastor Samuel Crosby.

"Bonnie was a gentle sweet spirit who loved to interact with people," said Crosby.

He officiated the service attended by about 200 people Sunday afternoon.

"The attendance is a reflection of the way she's impacted people's lives over the years," said Crosby

Pat Belk, a member of the San Saba Red Hat Society, said Harkey was very involved in the organization and loved helping others.

"She was the sweetest person in the world," said Belk, "it's just awful she went the way she went."

Harkey's body was found Monday night in a shallow grave in the bottom of a drainage ditch in Leon County, nearly 200 miles from her San Saba County home.

She was the victim of a murder-for-hire plot that also claimed the life of her housekeeper, Karen Johnson, according to affidavits released Wednesday.

Harkey's step-son Bruce Harkey, her adopted grandson Carl Pressley and his common law wife Lillian King are all charged in the alleged murder-for-hire plot.

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Post by Wrapitup on Wed Jun 20, 2012 12:03 am

San Saba County Grand Jury indicts three for murder

Posted: Jun 19, 2012 1:25 PM CDT

SAN SABA COUNTY - A San Saba County Grand Jury has returned murder indictments against Carl Wade Pressley, Lillian Annette King and Bruce Wayne Harkey for the role they played in the death of Karen Johnson earlier this year. Johnson was the caretaker of 86-year-old Bonnie Harkey, who was found buried in Leon County shortly after Johnson was found dead.

Sheriff's Office investigators and the District Attorney appeared before the grand jury for over four hours before the indictments were issued.

Pressley and King were also indicted for Burglary of a Habitation to Commit a Felony.

Karen Johnson was found dead back in March in Harkey's home in the 3700 block of West Highway 190.

When authorities found Harkey dead in the home, Bonnie Harkey was discovered to be missing. She was later found buried in Leon County.

Sheriff Allen Brown said the San Saba Sheriff's Office had spent over 500 hours investigating the crime and that the investigation is still ongoing. Another part of the investigation still continues in Leon County with the Texas Rangers also involved.

Sheriff Brown indicated the investigation has been a team effort.

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Normal Murder-for-hire suspect made prior threats

Post by Wrapitup on Tue Nov 13, 2012 5:21 pm

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Updated: Tuesday, 13 Nov 2012, 4:22 PM CST
Published : Tuesday, 13 Nov 2012, 4:22 PM CST
Chris Willis, Lead Investigative Reporter

SAN SABA, Texas (KXAN) - At 85, Bonnie Harkey was loved by her neighbors in San Saba County and affectionately known as the Pecan Queen because of the sprawling and fertile farm of nut-bearing trees that had been in family for years.

Harkey was, recalled family friend Donna Bush, "one of the sweetest ladies I ever knew."

But her violent death in March shook the quiet Hill Country community about two hours northwest of Austin, both for its brutality and for the fact that members of her own family have been charged in the far-reaching murder-for-hire scheme over the Harkey family fortune.

And now, new details uncovered by KXAN could have a major impact on the upcoming trial.

Authorities said that the murder-for-hire scheme was hatched to gain control of the Harkey family estate and rooted in deep family secrets. Some of those secrets still haunt some of the people involved.

And those people spoke exclusively to KXAN.

Just outside of San Saba sits the small town of Harkeyville, the namesake of the Harkey family and it’s generations of pecan farming. But today there are no Harkeys left on the farm. They’re either dead or in jail.

Even before her killing on March 25, Bonnie Harkey didn't have many years left. Her husband, Riley had passed away and she relied on a caretaker, Karen Johnson for help around the house and getting around town.

But those who knew Bonnie best say members of her family just couldn't wait for her to die.

“She was very good to everybody she knew -- too good to these people who took advantage of her,” said Donna Bush.

According to police, one Sunday back in the early spring while Bonnie was at church, her adopted grandson, Carl Pressley sneaked into her home. The caretaker and Bonnie later came home.

As a signal to Carl, Pressley's girlfriend rang the doorbell, knowing Johnson would answer. When the caretaker came to the door, Pressley snuck-up behind her, killed her and then kidnapped his grandmother. Pressley was in police custody hours later, confessing to the crimes.

“He did say he was sorry repeatedly,” said Sgt. John Wilkerson, an investigator with the San Saba County Sheriff’s Office. “He asked me to forgive him, made comments about burning in hell for the actions that he did.”

Investigators say Carl Pressley brought them to a campground in Leon County where he admitted to holding his grandmother's head underwater and burying her body in a shallow grave that he covered with leaves.

Autopsy reports indicate Bonnie Harkey may have been buried alive. Pressley and his girlfriend, Lillian King, face charges in San Saba and Leon counties.

But that’s not all Carl Pressley told investigators. While admitting to the kidnapping and murders, Pressley says he did it because his uncle, Bruce Harkey, paid him to do it.

“There was a payment made to Carl Pressley and of course there were some arrangements to be made that further payment would be made to Carl Pressley for killing Bonnie Harkey,” said Wilkerson.

Harkey was arrested and charged with solicitation of murder.

Bruce Harkey is Bonnie Harkey's stepson. His father left the family estate in Bonnie’s control, but Bruce was set to inherit a large portion of the estate upon his stepmother's death. Those close to Bonnie say she was afraid of Bruce and other family members.

“They were mean,” said close friend, Myrna Najar. “They were so greedy.”

Bruce Harkey called KXAN from behind bars in the Taylor County jail, where he awaits trial. In an interview, Harkey said he is innocent and that his nephew is a liar.

“I didn't have a damn thing to do with harming that woman in any way,” Bruce Harkey said in a phone call with KXAN. “I don't feel guilty because Carl's not a human being. He is the living epitome of evil."

Investigators say the motive behind Bruce Harkey’s solicitation of Bonnie Harkey’s murder was greed. Bruce Harkey, they say, felt pressure from years of past-due child support. And the family pecan fortune was his way out.

The fact he denies any wrongdoing comes as no surprise to investigators.

“Bruce Harkey would not confess to anything he's done wrong,” said Wilkerson.

Meanwhile, KXAN has found that it is not the first time Bruce Harkey has been accused of soliciting murder. We uncovered a 2003 case in which there is evidence he tried to have his ex-wife killed. KXAN located Harkey’s ex-wife, whom we are identifying only as "Kami." She has been in hiding with their child since before her marriage ended.

“He said he would kill me and they would never implicate him,” Kami told KXAN. “It was very true. He tried to have me killed.

“He started to warn me at least once a week, that if I ever tried to run -- and that's what he called it, ‘to run’ -- that he would kill me.”

Kami was 20 in In 1996 when she became Bruce Harkey's eighth wife. Harkey was 44. She says he was immediately abusive. After their daughter was born, she says his threats turned deadly.

“What he kept saying, 'if you take my daughter,

I will kill you,'” Kami said.

Kami has changed her name and avoided Bruce Harkey for years. KXAN is not revealing where Kami now lives. In an interview she said that when she finally left Bruce Harkey, his threats had turned to action.

“I had an ATF agent and a Texas Ranger knock on my door one day and they just said we needed to have a seat,” Kami said. “Your soon-to-be ex-husband, and we know you're in a big custody battle and trying to go through a divorce, but we have reason to believe he wants to hurt you,” Kami said the investigators told her.

“And I said, ‘no, no, he wants to kill me.’ And they said, ‘that's actually true, he is trying to get someone to kill you,” she continued.

KXAN obtained arrest reports alleging that Bruce Harkey had asked a maintenance worker to build him a gun silencer to kill Kami. What he did not know is ATF Agents and Texas Rangers had Harkey under electronic surveillance.

Court records show Harkey had been arrested for domestic assault, interfering with an emergency phone call, and impersonating a police officer in February 2003.

There was a temporary restraining order against Harkey through that April. Later that summer, Kami contacted Travis County Sheriff investigators and reported that Harkey had been trying to get her to drop the charges against him ever since the restraining expired in April.

Kami told investigators that Bruce Harkey had threatened to kill her if she did not get the charges dropped.

According to federal court documents quoting from surveillance recordings, Harkey tells the maintenance worker about his conversation with Kami, saying "There ain’t no witnesses to it. I ain’t got no tape recorder that's running. You ain’t got no tape recorder that's running, either. I will kill your sorry (expletive).”

Harkey then told the worker he “was going to step over the edge and not be able to come back one of these days.”

Kami says Agents played a portion of the videotaped surveillance for her to see.

“It was chilling,” Kami said. “Just talking about, you know, ‘she needs to die.’ The ways to dispose of my body and the gruesome way…what he was going to do to my body,” she described the recording.

Days later, on Aug. 7, 2003 when Bruce Harkey was arrested on a retaliation charge. Police found a Winchester rifle, a silencer, and 450 rounds of ammunition in his vehicle. He was later charged in federal court with unlawfully possessing a firearm silencer and carrying a weapon in relation to and in connection with a crime of violence.

Bruce Harkey was sentenced to five years in federal prison for possession of the unregistered silencer. The second federal charge was dismissed. The Travis County charges were also dismissed. Harkey was released from federal prison in 2008. angry

Now, four years later, he is charged with "solicitation of murder" in the death of Bonnie Harkey.

“The sad part is I wasn't surprise -- because he tried to kill me,” said Kami. “But that sweet, sweet woman, she just didn't deserve to die that way.”

So now the question is - if ATF agents and Texas Rangers have Bruce Harkey on tape talking about having his wife killed nearly 10 years ago while buying a silencer, why did he only go to prison for five years? And why didn't Travis County prosecute Harkey on the felony retaliation charge back in 2003? KXAN plans to find out and will continue this investigation.

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Post by Wrapitup on Tue Nov 13, 2012 8:50 pm

That poor woman!! Both of them!!!

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Post by NiteSpinR on Tue Jun 04, 2013 2:14 pm

No Updates or Trial information found for
Carl Pressley (Bonnie's adopted grandson)
Lillian King (Carl Pressley's Girlfriend)
Bruce Harkey (Bonnie's Stepson) Bruce was set to inherit a large portion of the estate upon his stepmother's death.

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Normal Re: Bonnie Harkey,85,Kidnapped,Buried Alive Was Victim Of Murder-For-Hire-Plot by her own Grandson! The grandmother's caretaker was also killed.Carl Presley & Bruce Harkey sentenced to LWOP,Lillian King sentenced 45 yrs.

Post by raine1953 on Tue Jun 04, 2013 2:16 pm

That is horrible! I wonder if LE just gave up or what.
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Normal Re: Bonnie Harkey,85,Kidnapped,Buried Alive Was Victim Of Murder-For-Hire-Plot by her own Grandson! The grandmother's caretaker was also killed.Carl Presley & Bruce Harkey sentenced to LWOP,Lillian King sentenced 45 yrs.

Post by NiteSpinR on Tue Jun 04, 2013 2:25 pm

I don't think authorities have given up. I think Lawyers are tying up the wheels of Justice.
As we have seen time and time again, most of the accused don't go to trial until 2 or more years after the crimes they commit. (example Drew Peterson, Casey Anthony, STABBY)

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Normal 3 sentenced in Llano Co. double murder.

Post by Wrapitup on Tue May 20, 2014 1:38 pm

by KVUE.com
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Posted on May 19, 2014 at 3:56 PM

LLANO COUNTY, Texas -- A jury has sentenced three people in connection with the 2012 deaths of a retired businesswoman and her caretaker.

Carl Presley was sentenced to life without parole for the capital murders of Bonnie Harkey and Karen Johnson. His common law wife, Lillian King, was sentenced to 45 years for her role in the murders.

Bonnie Harkey's son, Bruce Harkey, was also sentenced to life without parole for his involvement in his mother's death. Presley and King told investigators he paid them to kill his mother.

Presley was Bonnie Harkey's adopted grandson. According to the Llano County District Attorney's office, Presley and King hid in the woman's home and waited for her and Johnson, her caretaker, to return from church. When they arrived, Presley suffocated Johnson and kidnapped the woman, taking her to Leon County in East Texas, where he struck her with an object and drowned her in a creek.

The district attorney's office says King was supposed to distract Johnson while Presley abducted Bonnie Harkey, and King also drove the car as Presley kidnapped his grandmother. King will not be eligible for parole for at least 22 years.

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Normal Re: Bonnie Harkey,85,Kidnapped,Buried Alive Was Victim Of Murder-For-Hire-Plot by her own Grandson! The grandmother's caretaker was also killed.Carl Presley & Bruce Harkey sentenced to LWOP,Lillian King sentenced 45 yrs.

Post by Wrapitup on Tue May 20, 2014 1:48 pm

Earlier....
Posted: 3:28 p.m. Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Bruce Harkey convicted of murder-for-hire plot in pecan farming family

By Claire Osborn
American-Statesman Staff

BURNET — The verdict came quickly today for a Central Texas man accused in a murder-for-hire plot involving the matriarch of a pecan farming family.
Guilty.
Jurors convicted Bruce Harkey, 60, of capital murder on Tuesday for the death of his stepmother, Bonnie Harkey, in San Saba County. The Burnet County jury took about an hour to reach the verdict after the seven-day trial.

Harkey was convicted of hiring his stepmother’s grandson, Carl Wade Pressley, 29, and Pressley’s girlfriend, Lillian King, 26 to kill Bonnie Harkey. Bruce Harkey allegedly offered Pressley $500 to “make her gone this weekend,” with a follow-up payment of $55,000 after Bonnie Harkey’s death, one affidavit said.

“This was all about greed,” said Burnet County District Attorney Sonny McAfee, who said Bruce Harkey wanted his stepmother’s pecan farm.

Bonnie Harkey was reported missing on March 26, 2012, after the body of her housekeeper was found at Harkey’s home in the farming community of Harkeyville, near San Saba, a town that hails itself as the “Pecan Capital of the World.”

Later that day, Bonnie Harkey’s body was found in a shallow grave in a drainage ditch nearly 200 miles east in Leon County.

One of Bruce Harkey’s attorneys, Richard Davis, said after the verdict Tuesday that he’s going to appeal the case. He said there was no evidence that linked Bruce Harkey to the killings. Pressley and King testified during the trial that Bruce Harkey had hired them, but they were not believable, said Davis.

McAfee, the prosecutor, said he thought jurors were swayed by testimony from several witnesses who said Bruce Harkey had told them that he would be out of town one weekend. That weekend turned out to be when Bonnie Harkey and her housekeeper, Karen Johnson were killed, McAfee said.

Davis said Bruce Harkey often went out of town on the weekends so it was not unusual that he was away when the killings happened.

San Saba County Sheriff Stephen Boyd said the verdict “was just a relief for San Saba County in general.” He said he had attended the same church as Bonnie Harkey.

“She was a super sweet lady who would do anything for anybody,” Boyd said.

Pressley and King have yet to be tried. Davis said Bruce Harkey was a former police officer in Reno and also had worked as an investigator for the Texas Attorney General’s Office before he went into the pecan business.
Bruce Harkey told The Associated Press shortly after Bonnie Harkey was killed that Pressley was adopted by Bonnie Harkey’s stepdaughter. He said Bonnie Harkey took Pressley in as a teenager and supported him with “hundreds of thousands of dollars” in spending as an adult for purchases including a truck, dozens of new tires and legal expenses.
Bruce Harkey was sentenced to life in prison without the chance of parole.


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Post by Wrapitup on Fri Apr 24, 2015 5:30 am

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