ST. PETERSBURG — As Hydra Lacy Jr. eluded police for nearly three months, the former prison inmate was facing the possibility of a 30-year prison sentence.
This shows what was at stake for Lacy, 39, who recently had told friends he wouldn't go back to prison. He already had served two stints totaling about 11 years.
When confronted by police in an attic this week, Lacy shot and killed two officers and wounded another. He later was found dead in the attic, though police have not said how he died.
Lacy's most recent legal troubles came in 2009, when he was arrested on a charge of domestic aggravated battery against his wife, Christine.
Assistant State Attorney Scott Rosenwasser said the state offered Lacy a deal: Plead guilty and go to prison for 10 years.
The arrangement offered something to both sides. For prosecutors, it would have ensured Lacy would stay in prison for a full decade because the sentence would not have allowed early release.
For Lacy, it was a chance to avoid an even longer prison stint.
Lacy effectively said no to the deal by failing to show up at his scheduled trial date Nov. 1.
Until that morning, the offer was still on the table. But after he absconded, prosecutors planned to head to trial and seek the maximum sentence of 30 years, Rosenwasser said.
Henry Webb of Webb's Bail Bonds in St. Petersburg said he was surprised when Lacy didn't show up for trial.
Lacy had come by Webb's office each month to pay off a debt involving his bail, and always lingered a while to chat. "We would talk about his job, and he talked about his brother who was a boxer."
Once Lacy skipped, Webb had to fork over more than $25,000 for the bail. So Webb put feelers out and began looking for him.
Several times, he said, he drove to Christine Lacy's house. He did not get the sense that Hydra Lacy was staying there, or that Christine was hiding him. She seemed worried about him.
"I talked to Christine … she was afraid herself, looking over the shoulder," said Webb.
The whole episode shook Webb, 72, and his son who works with him. If they had found Lacy at the house, they would have called police and gone into the house alongside them.
"It kind of wakes you up," he said. "We could have very easily been in the midst there."
Boxer Jeff Lacy comments
Boxer Jeff Lacy said he feels "truly sorry" about the officers' deaths.
"Knowing that my brother created this suffering and trying to understand why he acted this way has left me with one of the saddest moments of my life," Lacy said in an interview with Rock Riley of Bright House Sports Network, his first since the Monday shootings.
"I just want to send my deepest sympathy to the families and loved ones of Sgt. Thomas Baitinger and Officer Jeffrey Yaslowitz. I am truly sorry for your loss and cannot imagine the anger and pain you are feeling," he said.