Charged in slaying, man, 39, is denied bail


James Milton Harding Jr., charged with the murder of his stepson, was denied bail yesterday at a bond hearing in Howard County District Court.

Howard police said Harding, 39, was charged with first- and second-degree murder and first-degree assault Friday night after they found the stepson, Marine Cpl. Andre D. Boone, 23, dead from a gunshot wound at his family's home in the 10100 block of Goodin Circle in Columbia.

Harding was being held in the Howard County Detention Center.

According to court documents, the shooting followed an argument between Harding and Boone, who were the only people in the house.

Police said the slaying was the county's first this year.

Sgt. Steven Keller, a police spokesman, said police responded to two domestic calls at the Harding home: one in August 1996, the other in January. No criminal charges were filed in either incident. Police released no further details of those cases.

Harding is a former Maryland state trooper who was fired in June 1994 after 18 months on the job when he was "found to have violated administrative policies and state criminal laws," according to a state police spokesman.

Police said Harding resigned from the Howard County police academy in July 1989, but they would give no further details. A friend, Ronald Braddy, said that Harding had left just weeks before graduation to take another job where he could earn more money.

Boone, a 1992 graduate of Hammond High School in Columbia, entered the Marines in 1994 and was stationed in Washington.

No family members could be reached for comment.

Braddy -- a security officer at Howard County Circuit Court who was a former classmate of Harding's at the Howard County police academy -- said Harding was well-liked by his peers.

Braddy said that about three years ago -- when Harding was with the state police -- he was involved in an accident on the job. He was dragged by a car and received head injuries, Braddy said.

"He changed after that. He changed drastically," Braddy said. "I just know that accident affected his whole life."

For Braddy, news of the arrest was shocking.

"It's really sad," Braddy said. "I have always considered him a friend."

Pub Date: 3/25/97

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