John Tucker Hardee, Harley Williams

John Tucker Hardee, Harley Williams (images via 13 News Now screengrabs)

John Tucker must go to prison.

The previously convicted child abuser who knew from the start that he was “going to prison,” as evidenced by a frantic text message saying so, was sentenced Friday to nearly four decades behind bars for the hot bathtub water murder of his live-in girlfriend’s 2-year-old daughter.

John Tucker Hardee, 38, on April 23, 2018, placed Harley Williams into scalding bathtub water and left her there, severely burned the victim’s skin, and then texted the girl’s mother to come home from work when he began to realize what he’d done. Despite the obvious seriousness of the situation, the couple subjected Harley to a painful, torturous death instead of immediately taking the toddler to the hospital, the Office of the Norfolk Commonwealth’s Attorney said.

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