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Hydra Lacy's widow seeks $61K from city for destroyed belongings

A photo of Hydra Lacy Jr. and Christine Lacy found in the rubble of their home. Lacy Jr. died in the home Jan. 24 after two St. Petersburg Police officers were killed and a federal marshal wounded in a shootout. That evening, police demolished the home at the request of Mayor Bill Foster.


A photo of Hydra Lacy Jr. and Christine Lacy found in the rubble of their home. Lacy Jr. died in the home Jan. 24 after two St. Petersburg Police officers were killed and a federal marshal wounded in a shootout. That evening, police demolished the home at the request of Mayor Bill Foster.

ST. PETERSBURG — A $400 Prada purse. Five gaming systems worth $2,600. A $5,000 Ethan Allen bed set. Eight DVD players worth nearly $500.

The five-page list of household items sent this month to City Hall reads like a catalog for the well-to-do.

Yet the list actually represents an informal legal claim filed by Christine Lacy, whose home was destroyed on Jan. 24 during a shootout that left her husband, Hydra Lacy Jr., and two police officers dead.

Her role in the deadly standoff has been the subject of much scrutiny. She was uncooperative when investigators first questioned her that morning about her husband's whereabouts, according to a State Attorney's report, but eventually the battered wife told them he was hiding in the attic.

Investigators said she didn't make it clear that Hydra Lacy Jr. was armed. Later, she said that she did.

This account differed from how Lacy had been depicted by Mayor Bill Foster in the days after his abrupt decision to demolish the house at 28th Avenue S. He described her at first as a cooperative witness who deserved compensation for her destroyed property.

"The city will make sure she is made whole," Foster said then.

What "whole" will end up meaning is far from certain. It appears Lacy isn't seeking compensation for the actual home, which was valued by the Pinellas County Property Appraiser's Office last year at $95,982.

Instead, Lacy is making a claim on the property that she says was destroyed in the home, namely an assortment of 155 personal belongings. Some of the items Lacy deems "priceless," such as a blanket her grandmother made. It's not clear whether she will seek compensation for these items.

But she managed to estimate a value for other belongings, which amount to $61,558. Lacy, who had three jobs, including jobs as a bartender and at a clothing shop, declined to comment through an attorney.

Chief Assistant City Attorney Mark Winn said her list will be reviewed and evaluated in the coming weeks. He doesn't expect Lacy to file an additional claim on the house because it's his understanding that the home was under foreclosure and she didn't have any equity to claim.

As for Foster's promise that Lacy will be made whole, Winn said that can be interpreted many ways because legally there is "no one clear definition."

Foster said what he meant has been misinterpreted.

"It doesn't mean we will build her a house," he said.

Foster said he meant Lacy will be paid whatever the law requires. He said that could range from her total claim to nothing.

Foster said he was disappointed upon reading the state attorney's report that indicated Christine Lacy wasn't as cooperative as he was led to believe. The report included details about a missing two-step folding ladder. Officers used it to enter the attic to search for Hydra Lacy Jr.

Police, however, didn't find the stool under the attic opening. It was in the kitchen when they entered the house. Christine Lacy later said she did not move it for her husband, that he must have pulled himself into the attic.

But a witness later told the State Attorney's Office that a motorcycle crash injured her husband's arms so badly that he could not have pulled himself up.

The stepladder was not among the items she listed for compensation.

Foster said he won't hold those discrepancies against Christine Lacy because of the abusive relationship she found herself in with Hydra Lacy, who was wanted on charges that he had assaulted her.

"Under these circumstances, she was a victim," Foster said. "I'm not qualified to judge her in any way."

Foster and city attorneys will decide how much Christine Lacy should be compensated. But anything more than $25,000 needs approved from the City Council.

Council members Steve Kornell and Bill Dudley said they are reluctant to reimburse all the items on the list.

"We have to be careful to make sure that we take care of taxpayers," Kornell said. "I'm not sure I'm going to replace Prada purses and Xboxes."

"It seems a little excessive," Dudley said. "I'd like to have some proof that she actually had that stuff."

But council member Wengay Newton said because the house was destroyed, it's hard to quibble with the list.

"How can I dispute it?" Newton said. "How can you dispute it? Obviously, the woman lost her stuff. It's hard to fathom, it's hard to question."

Times staff writer Curtis Krueger contributed to this report. Michael Van Sickler can be reached at (727) 893-8037 or

The list of personal items

Christine Lacy's home was destroyed on Jan. 24 after a shootout between her husband, Hydra Lacy Jr., and St. Petersburg police. Lacy and two officers, Sgt. Thomas Baitinger and Officer Jeffrey Yaslowitz, were killed. While Christine Lacy isn't seeking compensation for the destroyed house, she is seeking damages from the city for the personal property inside the house. This month she submitted a list of 155 items that she said were destroyed and valued at $61,558. Here are some of the items from that list:

1 Prada purse: $400

7 Coach purses: $1,000

2 Dooney & Bourke purses: $500

10 pairs of eyeglasses: $200

Red bird crystal: $1,000

Xbox: $300

Regular Xbox: $200

PlayStation 3: $300

Gaming center (dual side Atari, including Pac-Man, plus 60 built-in games): $1,500

Wii game: $300

Kenwood stereo with large standup speakers

(Bose system): $1,500

Four-foot tall woofers: $600

Cuckoo clock: $250

8 DVD players: $460

100 DVDs: $500

Jar full of money: $600

Diamond wedding ring, 1st marriage: $800

Diamond wedding ring, 2nd marriage: $800

Gas grill: $2,500

Ethan Allen king-size bed set, guest bedroom: $5,000

King-size bed set, main bedroom: $2,500

Sectional brown suede couch: $2,500

Leather sectional: $2,000

Hydra Lacy's widow seeks $61K from city for destroyed belongings 03/23/11 [Last modified: Thursday, March 24, 2011 8:57am]
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