Jury finds Lawrence Dickey guilty of second-degree murder

TAMPA BAY - A jury has found a Plant City man guilty of second-degree murder.  It took jurors almost six hours to reach a verdict in the trial of Lawrence Dickey.

Dickey, and his wife, Beatrice, attended a Journey concert last September. Investigators say later that night, Dickey attacked his wife with a baseball bat, in their Plant City home, while she slept.

Earlier Wednesday, the prosecution and defense gave closing arguments.

Prosecutors argued Dickey knew what he was doing. Assistant State Attorney Ronald Gale said, "He's not about, at 1:00 in the morning, to go out and play a game of softball.  He has that evil intent.  He's not getting that baseball bat for any other purpose than to use it on his wife."

But the defense claimed the act wasn't premeditated. Robert Fraser, Dickey's attorney, said, "What was he thinking?  Where is the evidence of reflection?  Where is the evidence that he thought about this for a nanosecond?  There isn't any!"

Closing arguments lasted about an hour then Dickey's fate was in the jury's hands.

When jurors later found Dickey guilty, Beatrice's son, Matt Kirkland, was in the courtroom. He said he was hoping for a tougher penalty. Kirkland said, "We'll try to get him at the sentencing hearing. I'll be able to speak and let the judge know what kind of guy he actually is instead of just the little, his crying act on the stand."

Sentencing is scheduled for January 25th. Dickey could get 20 years to life in prison.

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