Murder suspect fined $5,000

A Maserati driven by John Ludwig crashed into the Greenville home of Frederic Bardsley, who was killed while watching television on April 25.

COLUMBIA — A man charged with murder after his speeding Maserati plowed into a house and killed its owner violated his bond in an unrelated case, a judge ruled Wednesday, but the man was not ordered to return to jail.

Instead, Judge Matt Hawley found John Ludwig, 36, in contempt of court, ordering him to pay a $5,000 fine.

Authorities said Ludwig had been charged in a bench warrant with trying to contact his estranged wife in violation of his bond on a previous domestic violence charge.

Multiple media outlets reported that Hawley ordered that Ludwig be electronically monitored and have no contact with his wife.

The murder charge comes from the night of April 25, when police said Ludwig was driving more than 85 mph and lost control of his Maserati.

The car traveled several hundred feet across a field before plowing into the back of 62-year-old Frederic Bardsley's home, hurtling so forcefully through the two-story house that it came to rest in the front yard.

Bardsley was killed. His wife, who was upstairs, was unhurt, and Ludwig suffered minor injuries.

Ludwig's attorneys have said their client lost control after swerving to miss several deer.

Ludwig spent three days in jail in May after a judge revoked his $300,000 bond for the murder charge.

While there, police said Ludwig asked another inmate to write a letter to his estranged wife and tape it to the front door of her house, according to police reports released Wednesday.

Any such contact, direct or indirect, is prohibited as a condition of Ludwig's bond on a criminal domestic violence charge, a crime he's been charged with twice in the past six months.

Ludwig was arrested again in August after his wife accused him of making dozens of harassing phone calls.

In the letter, an inmate who spent time in jail with Ludwig wrote that Ludwig was a good Christian who frequently prayed for her and their children. Ludwig denied asking the inmate to write the letter.

When he was charged with Bardsley's death, Ludwig was out on bond on a burglary charge. Authorities said he kicked in the door of a Greenville home last summer and chased a man who was dating his estranged wife.

Police records show an officer shocked Ludwig with a stun gun after he refused to cooperate.

The former chief executive of SDI Networks is currently free on bond for the murder charge. His attorney did not return a message Wednesday.