MURDER CHARGE DROPPED AGAINST WOMAN IN 2015 DEATH
A murder charge has been dismissed against a homeless woman charged with the murder of a homeless man two years ago outside of a church near downtown Austin.
Leigh Bohart, 53, has been cleared in the April 13, 2015, beating of Clarence Gardner, according to her attorney, Robb Shepherd. The dismissed charge comes after a co-defendant, Mark Kenady, pleaded guilty last week to mur- der for striking Gardner over the head with a brick. Kenady accepted 45 years in prison as part of a negotiated plea.
Kenady told the court Bohart had nothing to do with the murder, according to Guillermo Gonzalez, who oversees the Travis County district attorney’s trial division. Evidence pinning Bohart to the murder was “tenuous,” Gonzalez said.
According to the affidavit from his June 2016 arrest, Kenady told investigators he fought Gardner because Gardner had thrown Bohart’s clothes into the trash. Kenady told deputies he knocked the other man unconscious with a punch, then took a piece of stone and hit Gardner over the head. When that didn’t kill him, according to an arrest affidavit, Kenady grabbed a brick and continued the beating. He then loaded Gardner into a recycling bin and twice stabbed him in the back, the affidavit says.
The fight came after police were dispatched to the church in the 500 block of Bouldin Avenue to intervene in an argument Gard- ner was having with Bohart.
Bohart was scheduled to be released from jail on Tuesday night, according to Shepherd, who said sheriff ’s investigators had insufficient evidence to arrest his client based on the eyewitness account of a legally blind man. That witness told investigators he saw a woman outside of the church moving a recycling bin about the time the crime occurred. Gardner was found dead the following day at a recycling center in Creedmoor in southeast Travis County.
There were other inconsistencies, Shepherd said. The blind witness told investigators the woman pushing the bin had blue hair, which Bohart did not. And the witness said this happened about 7 p.m., some seven hours before the time Kenady said the murder occurred.
“Just really happy for her,” Shepherd said. “I’m going to make her life better — hopefully I can.”