Nicolas Lindsey has been found guilty of killing Officer Dave Crawford.
The defense said he was a scared child; the prosecuters called him a cold-blooded killer; but now that 17-year-old Nicholas Lindsey Jr. has been found guilty, he will spend the rest of his life in prison.
Pinellas County Judge, Thane Covert said to Lindsey in open court on Friday, “I hereby find you guilty as charged. I sentence you to life in prison and life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.”
A Pinellas County jury deliberated for less than four hours before finding Lindsey guilty of first-degree murder in the shooting death of St. Petersburg police Officer David Crawford on Feb. 21, 2011. Lindsey was stoic as the verdict was read.
Crawford’s widow, adult daughter and ex-wife, along with police Chief Chuck Harmon sat on the front row of Courtroom 1 at the Pinellas County Criminal Justice Center. Off-duty St. Petersburg police officers filled the courtroom.
Members of Lindsey’s family, including mother Deneen Sweat and father Nicholas Lindsey Sr., sat on the other side of the room.
Crawford’s widow, Donna, and daughter, Amanda, spoke before the sentencing.
Lindsey’s family left the courtroom in tears.
Defense attorney Dyril Flanagan said his client was a scared child – 16 at the time – who panicked when the officer confronted him about a nearby car burglary.
Crawford returned fire, but all six of his shots missed Lindsey.
In a taped confession encouraged by his parents the night after the shooting and marked by wailing and sobs, Lindsey told detectives that his gun went off accidentally and he kept shooting because he was scared of dying after the officer drew a weapon.
Lindsey’s mother testified this week that she tried to protect her son against threats and beatings in the violence-ridden Citrus Grove Apartments, where they lived.
In his closing argument, Flanagan said Lindsey armed himself with a high-powered automatic handgun because he had been threatened, harassed and hunted for months by boys from rival neighborhoods.
McCabe said Lindsey armed himself with a gun he bought for $130 to get “street cred.”