LARGO — Nicholas Lindsey has been given a tentative July 26 court date for his attorneys to argue that he should be sentenced to less than life in prison for killing St. Petersburg police Officer David S. Crawford.
The Pinellas-Pasco Public Defender's Office will represent Lindsey, 18, in his re-sentencing hearing, and attorney John Swisher asked for three months to prepare. State Attorney Bernie McCabe argued there was no reason to wait so long.
Circuit Judge Thane Covert set the July 26 date, but also said lawyers should meet July 3 to check on their progress and make sure the timetable is feasible.
Lindsey was convicted last year of first-degree murder for killing Crawford in 2011, a crime that shocked St. Petersburg, especially coming just a month after the fatal shootings of two other officers. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, the only possible sentence allowed under Florida law for a juvenile convicted of first-degree murder. Lindsey was 16 at the time of the shooting.
After his sentencing, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that mandatory life-without-parole sentences for juveniles are unconstitutional, and that courts must at least consider the defendant's background and possible alternative punishments.
Those considerations will be discussed in the sentencing hearing. It's still possible Lindsey could be given a life sentence, but this procedure allows his attorneys to present reasons he should have a chance at eventual freedom.
Lindsey's father Nicholas Lindsey Sr. said afterward he only hoped for "fair treatment" for his son, and a chance for him to leave prison some day.
Crawford's good friend and fellow officer Stu Crisco also attended Wednesday's hearing.
"I'm optimistic that after all is said and done, he'll get the same sentence," said Crisco, now retired.