75ºF

Man convicted 2nd time in 2006 murder

Co-defendent pleaded guilty earlier this year

Jacksonville Sheriff's Office booking photo of Willie Hardee
Jacksonville Sheriff's Office booking photo of Willie Hardee

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A jury on Thursday convicted Willie Hardee of murder in the 2006 beating death of a Jacksonville man.

Hardee was convicted of killing 50-year-old Wayne Fuller and sentenced to life in prison for second-degree murder in 2008. Fuller's body was found next to his bicycle at the corner of 5th and Ionia streets on June 17, 2006.

This was Hardee's second conviction in the slaying. The first conviction was reversed based on a problem with the jury instructions.

Eyewitnesses said Hardee and another man beat Fuller to death with their hands, feet and a log. Co-defendant Leo Toby was found guilty in the first trial and pleaded guilty to second-degree murder earlier this year.

"In a world where some people believe in a culture of silence, this case exemplifies the courage some citizens have," Assistant State Attorney Alan Mizrahi said. "They stood up to the drug dealers in their neighborhood and ensured justice was served."

Police said Hardee had a lengthy arrest record prior to being arrested in Fuller's murder.

Hardee will be sentenced in May.