A Newport News, Virginia man with a lengthy criminal history has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for possessing a firearm while drug trafficking and possession with intent to distribute marijuana.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) said that court documents explain how Willie M. Hardy, Jr., 47, was involved in drug trafficking in Newport News while armed and still on federal supervision for a 2009 conviction.
“Willie Hardy, Jr., has a significant and lengthy criminal history of violence,” G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, said in the ATF statement. “In addition to being convicted of murder, he has been convicted of multiple other violent offenses, including violence against women. This is precisely the type of criminal that needed the attention of federal law enforcement and significant time in prison. I have no doubt that Newport News is safer with Hardy off the streets and behind bars.”
Hardy cut communication with his probation officer in 2018 and a warrant was issued for him in March 2018. Law enforcement then obtained a search warrant for his residence in May 2018.
Law enforcement found two firearms, heroin, and marijuana during the search. Hardy was interviewed by the authorities and confessed that he had been distributing marijuana for more than a month and had served as a middleman in heroin deals.
“This case demonstrates ATF’s commitment to supporting our law enforcement partners with investigative leads generated by our National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN),” stated Ashan M. Benedict, Special Agent in Charge of the ATF’s Washington Field Division. “This cutting edge technology matches ballistic evidence to crime scenes, helping law enforcement identify suspects and solve crimes much faster than is otherwise possible. Tools like NIBIN are crucial to the safety of our communities because they allow law enforcement to swiftly remove violent offenders like Hardy from our streets.”
While in custody, Hardy made jail calls to attempt to have a non-felon take responsibility for the firearm and had the intention to have someone write an affidavit for him.
A four-day trial convicted Hardy of possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking crime, felon in possession of a firearm, and possession with intent to distribute marijuana.
According to the Daily Press, when Hardy was 20, he already had committed a stunning amount of crimes.
At age 10, he was brought to court for stealing from his mother, swearing at her, and being suspended from school.
He was convicted for assault and battery when 12.
When he was 15, he shot and wounded a friend while playing with a gun. Months later, he stole a van, crashed it, and left the scene.
In 1988, he beat a man to death with three friends, for which he was sentenced to 12 years. But the parole board let him out three years and three months later.
Hardy then allegedly threatened to kill a woman, grabbed her by the neck, and shot into the air multiple times with a handgun.
The charge was reduced to misdemeanor assault and battery and he was sentenced to only 30 days, but 20 days of the sentence were suspended due to good behavior.
Hardy and another person also allegedly killed a man by shooting him eight times. He was not tried for the crime after the witness refused to testify.