Federal trial for 2006 arson-murder heats up as family searches for justice

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HARTFORD--A Connecticut family has been waiting nearly a decade for justice, and now they are a step closer.

Several family members of Kathy Hardy, 39, continue to follow to the federal trial, which is in its third week, in Hartford of one of the men accused of murdering her.

Prosecutors say John Vailette, along with Steve Martone, set fire to Hardy's Branford home March 7, 2006 while she was sleeping.

Thursday, Donald Armentino testified Vailette told him that he was involved with the arson.

On cross-examination, the defense questioned Armentino's credibility, pointing out that he lied many times to police, that he was a career criminal, a junkie, and a high-ranking gang member with the Latin Kings.

"I think the jury is smart enough to see through that and he's testified over and over again that he's been clean for seven years," Dawn Luddy, Hardy's sister, said outside the federal courthouse.  "He hasn't changed his story."

The other suspect, Steve Martone, will be next to go on trial.