PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. - A teen sentenced to life in prison without parole for the shooting death of a St. Petersburg Police Officer was back in a Pinellas County courtroom Wednesday.
Nicholas Lindsey, now 18, walked into the courtroom filled with his family and fallen Officer David Crawford's Law Enforcement family. Lindsey convicted of shooting and killing Officer Crawford on the night of February 21, 2011 when Crawford responded to calls of car break-ins in downtown St. Pete. Lindsey was just 16-years-old at the time.
Judge Thane Covert set a re-sentencing hearing for July 26, with periodic status checks with both sides to ensure they will be ready by that date.
Lindsey has been serving life in prison, without the possibility of parole, since he was sentenced last March. But a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling stating juveniles could not receive mandatory life sentences put the teen back in court. His appellate attorney's filing a motion to "correct sentencing errors," basically to get his sentence reduced.
In Wednesday's hearing, Lindsey's trial attorney Frank McDermott told Judge Covert it would be best for the teen to be represented by a public defender.
"It would be a complete financial burden for me," says McDermott. "I don't have an associate anymore. I am a single partitioner and I could not do that."
The ordeal has been a burden on retired St. Pete Officer Thad Crisco as well, but his burden emotional. He was fallen officer Crawford's partner for 13 years. After the hearing, he said the possible re-sentencing following the Supreme Court's ruling on life sentences for juveniles, comes as no surprise.
"The circumstances, I think, dictate the fact that he deserves to get life in prison," said Ret. Officer Crisco. "He killed a police officer in the line of duty."
Lindsey's mother, Deneen Sweat, spoke briefly with ABC Action News after the hearing as well.
"I'm just glad that its going to be over soon and that he gets a chance at a fair hearing and that he gets to come home one day," said Sweat.
Lindsey's public defender says there is still many interviews to conduct and evidence to sift through, so he requested that Lindsey be able to stay at the Pinellas County Jail until the hearing next month. Judge Covert agreed.