Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Alcohol or drugs may have played role in Plant City wife's 2011 slaying

Defendant Lawrence Dickey breaks down before jury selection Monday in Tampa.

CHRIS ZUPPA | Times

Defendant Lawrence Dickey breaks down before jury selection Monday in Tampa.

TAMPA — Detectives have never offered a reason why a married couple's date night in 2011 ended in violent death in their Plant City bedroom.

But during jury selection Monday for Lawrence Dickey, 46, charged with first-degree murder of his wife, Beatrice, attorneys hinted that alcohol or drugs played a role.

Dickey is accused of fatally clubbing his wife with an aluminum baseball bat after returning from a Journey concert to their household full of children.

Before 12 jurors and two alternates were chosen, a jury pool of 80 was asked if drugs or alcohol impairment could ever be a mitigating factor in a crime. No juror thought so. But one said she attended the same concert on Sept. 17, 2011, and remembered "a lot of people drinking."

Three of the couple's four children and a young family friend were in the home after midnight when Beatrice Dickey, 44, was attacked.

One of them, the couple's 12-year-old son, provided a nightmare narrative to investigators. The boy said he was sleeping on the couch in the living room after midnight when Lawrence Dickey woke him.

"Dad came over to me and started rubbing my head. He was telling me over and over that he will always love me and my mom will always be my angel," he told detectives.

The boy said he then heard his father get a bat from the garage and go into the couple's bedroom. "I heard three loud thumps," he said.

Plant City police answered a 911 call from another son, age 17. They found the couple's 16-year-old daughter in the bedroom with her mother, sobbing and trying to wipe blood away.

When jurors were told that some of the children will testify this week, Dickey began crying.

Beatrice Dickey was an executive assistant to Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd. She was a breast cancer survivor. Their father was a loss-prevention officer for Walmart. They were a blended family. Each parent brought two children to the marriage.

The trial, which is expected to last all week, resumes today.

Times researcher John Martin contributed to this story.

Alcohol or drugs may have played role in Plant City wife's 2011 slaying 12/17/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 18, 2012 12:08am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays morning after: A lot that went into a marathon win

    Blogs

    Rays manager Kevin Cash had a simple strategy when Fox Sports Sun's Alex Corddry asked him how the team would move on from Sunday's marathon win and get ready to face the Rangers tonight in Texas:

  2. Navy parachutist dies during demonstration over Hudson River

    Military

    JERSEY CITY, N.J. — In the shadow of the Statue of Liberty, a Navy Seal team member fell to his death Sunday after his parachute failed to open during a Fleet Week demonstration over the Hudson River.

    Officials surround a U.S. Navy Seal's parachute that landed in a parking lot after the parachutist fell into the Hudson River when his parachute failed to open during a Fleet Week demonstration over the river in Jersey City, N.J. The Navy said the parachutist was pronounced dead at Jersey City Medical Center. [Joe Shine | Jersey Journal via AP]
  3. As White House defends Jared Kushner, experts question his alleged back-channel move

    National

    WASHINGTON — The Trump administration argued over the weekend that back-channel communications are acceptable in building dialogue with foreign governments, part of an effort to minimize fallout over White House adviser Jared Kushner's reported discussion about creating a secret conduit to the Kremlin at a Russian …

    President-elect Donald Trump embraces son in law Jared Kushner, as his daughter Ivanka Trump stands nearby, after his acceptance speech at the New York Hilton Midtown in the early morning hours of Nov. 9. [Mark Wilson | Getty Images]
  4. Sunstar ambulance overturns at Drew Street intersection in Clearwater

    Accidents

    The intersection of Drew Street and N Fort Harrison Avenue in Clearwater closed following a crash that involved a Sunstar ambulance unit, according to the Clearwater Police Department.

    A Sunstar unit flipped in the intersection of Drew Street and Ford Harrison Avenue in Clearwater Monday morning after a car reportedly ran a red light and struck the ambulance, according to the Clearwater Police Department.
  5. Merkel spokesman: Germany still seeking stronger U.S. ties

    Nation

    BERLIN — Berlin remains committed to strong trans-Atlantic relations, but Chancellor Angela Merkel's suggestion after meetings with President Donald Trump that Europe can no longer entirely rely on the U.S. "speaks for itself," her spokesman said Monday

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel delivers a speech during an election campaign of her Christian Democratic Union, CDU, and the Christian Social Union, CSU, in Munich, southern Germany, Sunday. Merkel is urging European Union nations to stick together in the face of new uncertainty over the United States and other challenges. [Matthias Balk/dpa via AP]