Fernandina Beach man found guilty on burglary, arson and stalking charges
State Attorney Melissa Nelson announced Thursday that Michael Hardy, of Fernandina Beach, has been found guilty by a jury of burglary to a dwelling causing more than $1,000 in damage, first-degree arson, and aggravated stalking.
Hardy now faces a sentencing maximum of life in Florida State Prison. A sentencing hearing is scheduled before Judge James Daniel on Feb. 14, according to the news release.
On Nov. 2, 2016, Hardy was caught on home surveillance video at the victim’s house tampering with a surveillance camera and looking through a glass door. The victim's tire on her vehicle was also slashed. The victim had an injunction against Hardy. Hardy again returned to the victim’s home Nov. 4, 2016, while she was at dinner. The victim received an alert on her phone indicating detected movement by her surveillance system. She saw Hardy breaking the glass to the back door and entering the home with a gas can.
The victim, Nassau County Fire Rescue, and the Nassau County Sheriff's Office arrived on the scene to find her house on fire. Firefighters discovered the fire had been set in the attic along with a red gas can matching the one Hardy carried into the home. It tested positive for gasoline. A detective with the State Fire Marshal responded to the scene and determined the fire was intentionally set and started in the attic of the victim’s home. Hardy, who had severe burns to his legs, was arrested Nov. 5, 2016.
The case was investigated by the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office, the Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations, and Nassau County Fire Rescue, and is being prosecuted by Assistant State Attorneys Elizabeth Beck and Kelli Sutton.