Lawrence Dickey admitted that he beat his wife to death with a bat, but he insisted that it wasn't premeditated. Wednesday, jurors apparently agreed.
After a few hours of deliberations, a Hillsborough County jury found Dickey guilty of second-degree murder. It was not the first-degree conviction that prosecutors had sought.
The Plant City took the stand in his own defense earlier this week, testifying that he drank so much the night that his killed his wife Bea that he doesn't remember the crime.
Bea Dickey was the highest ranking civilian employee at the Polk County Sheriff's Office. She was executive director of the Office of Business Affairs. The couple went to a Journey concert on the night of her death.
Tuesday, Lawrence testified that he drank 11 beers and did two shots of tequila. He told the jury he didn't remember returning home that night or getting a bat from the couple's garage.
He said he remembered leaving the concert and then nothing else until he found his wife bleeding.
"I was standing over the edge of my bed and she was lying there and blood was coming out of her head. And my softball bat was laying next to her," he told the jury, in tears.
Police say Dickey later drove to the Plant City Police Department and turned himself in.
Lawrence Dickey's two children and Bea Dickey's son also testified. All three were home when Bea was killed.
Dickey's defense attorneys successfully argued that Dickey's actions did not meet the standard for first-degree premeditated murder. Not everyone agreed.
Bea Dickey's son Matt Kirkland talked with FOX 13 after the verdict was handed down.
"I thought there was enough evidence of premeditation," said Kirkland. "I mean the guy said what he was going do, walked out to the garage, dropped the bat. Right there, he should've been like, 'Wait, I shouldn't do this.' That didn't stop him.
"Obviously, I'm disappointed in the second-degree murder charge instead of first-degree. We'll try and get him at the sentencing hearing. I'll be able to speak and let the judge know what kind of guy he is instead of his little crying act on the stand."
Dickey still faces 20 years to life in prison at his January 25 sentencing.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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