Norfolk man charged with 2nd degree murder in child death investigation

Posted at 12:36 PM, Nov 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-26 19:19:22-05

NORFOLK, Va. — John Tucker Hardee already had four charges against him in connection with the death of girlfriend's daughter, Harley Rae Williams. Now, he faces another severe charge: second-degree murder.

John Tucker Hardee

According to officials, the charge against the 33-year-old was added to the others he will face when he begins trial on January 14, 2019. The other four charges are for child abuse and neglect, aggravated malicious wounding, felony homicide and malicious wounding.

Click here for full coverage on the death of Harley Rae Williams

Around 3:40 a.m. on April 24, dispatchers received a call about an unresponsive child in the 9600 block of 20th Bay Street. First responders found that the child had sustained burns on various parts of her body.

The girl was then taken to Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters, where she was pronounced dead. Shelby Love, Harley Rae's mother, and Hardee were arrested shortly after the child was found unresponsive at her home.

In 2014, Hardee pleaded guilty to strangulation and child neglect and abuse. According to court documents, Hardee hit his child in the head multiple times, resulting in a fracture to the child's skull. During the same incident, he strangled his girlfriend. Hardee was sentenced to three years behind bars and was not supposed to have contact with minors until Child Protective Services gives approval.

23-year-old Love will be in court on child abuse and neglect charges on December 5.