TAMPA - When Matt Kirkland saw his stepfather on the witness stand with tears in his eyes, he thought he was watching Lawrence Dickey put on a bad acting job. Now he believes the jury thought it was closer to an Oscar-winning performance.
"I feel that Lawrence was able to kind of fool them as to the kind of person he really is," Kirkland said.
Dickey, 46, was convicted of second-degree murder for the killing of his wife, Beatrice Dickey, on September 17, 2011. Prosecutors argued that Dickey knew what he was doing when he took a softball bat to his wife's head after a night of heavy drinking.
The defense said after eleven beers and two shots of tequila, Dickey had blacked out and the death was unintentional.
"He was an alcoholic. He was drunk every day," Kirkland said, unconvinced that Dickey would ever black out.
Kirkland, 22, said that because jurors were banned from hearing about Dickey's past drunken episodes with his mother, they didn't get the complete picture.
"He's not a good guy. And he never will be. So obviously I'm disappointed in the second-degree charge instead of first-degree," Kirkland said.
Kirkland said he hoped to convince the judge at the sentencing hearing to give Dickey the maximum sentence of life in prison.
"I'll be able to speak and let the judge know what kind of guy he actually is instead of his little crying act on the stand," Kirkland said. "He doesn't care about anything so I don't see why he would be crying."
Beatrice Dickey was among Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd's highest-ranking civilians, working in the business affairs office. Kirkland believed jealousy of her success played a role in the murder.
"He would not like when my mom would talk with people she worked with, and he would get jealous," he said.
"Work functions, holiday parties, he would just get drunk and not talk to anyone, just because my mom would be socializing with her co-workers," Kirkland said.
After his arrest, Dickey told Plant City police that it was Sheriff Judd who drove him to commit the crime.
"Larry is not a very smart person," Kirkland said.
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