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Federal judge dismisses Christine Lacy's lawsuit against city of St. Petersburg

Christine Lacy
Christine Lacy
Published Apr. 9, 2014

TAMPA — A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit against the city of St. Petersburg brought earlier this year by the widow of a fugitive who killed two police officers in 2011.

U.S. District Judge Virginia M. Hernandez Covington signed an order Tuesday granting the city's motion to dismiss plaintiff Christine Lacy's complaint, which alleged officials violated her rights when they tore down her home on Jan. 24, 2011, after her husband, Hydra, shot and killed K-9 Officer Jeff Yaslowitz and Sgt. Tom Baitinger.

Lacy want-ed the city to pay for what was inside her home, which she estimated had a value of nearly $64,000. Her lawsuit leaned on the fact that after the demolition, then-Mayor Bill Foster promised to make Lacy "whole."

But Hernandez Covington said Lacy's claim was not clear enough and failed to identify a city policy that caused her injury.

The judge dismissed the case without prejudice, essentially leaving Lacy with the option to end her fight now or refile an amended case by April 25.

Her attorney, James Wardell, could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday evening.

Lacy had initially filed her case in circuit court, but it was later bumped to the federal system because she was arguing her constitutional rights were violated.

"It's been our position that any damage to the house is the result of . . . Hydra Lacy's murder of two police officers," Assistant City Attorney Joseph Patner said Tuesday night. "If anyone is to blame for the destruction of the house it's Hydra Lacy."

Times researcher Natalie Watson contributed to this report. Kameel Stanley can be reached at, (727) 893-8643 or @cornandpotatoes on Twitter.