A jury found a Nassau County man guilty of burglary to a dwelling causing over $1,000 in damage, first-degree arson and aggravated stalking, State Attorney Melissa Nelson announced Thursday.
Michael Hardy, of Fernandina Beach, now faces a maximum of life in prison. A sentencing hearing
is scheduled Feb. 14.
On Nov. 2, 2016, according to prosecutors, Hardy was caught on home surveillance video at the victim's home, 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, prosecutors said.
According to the state attorney's office, 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 said she saw Hardy breaking the glass to the back door and entering the home with a gas can.
The victim, Nassau County Fire and Rescue and the Nassau County Sheriff's Office arrived at her home to find that the structure was on fire. Firefighters said they discovered the fire had been set in the attic along with a red gas can matching the one that Hardy carried into the home. It tested positive for gasoline.
A detective with the State Fire Marshal's Office was called to the scene. The detective determined the fire was intentionally set. The detective also confirmed the fire started in the attic of the victim's home.
Hardy, who had severe burns to his legs, was arrested on Nov. 5, 2016.
The case was investigated by the Sheriff’s Office, Fire and Rescue, and the Bureau of Fire and Arson