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Teen found guilty in death of police officer | Crime

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Teen found guilty in death of police officer
Crime

Update: A jury has found 17-year-old Nicholas Lindsey guilty of first degree murder in the death of St. Petersburg Officer David Crawford.

The jury reached a verdict after less than four hours of deliberation. 

After reading the verdict, Judge Thane B. Covert sentenced Lindsey to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Because he is a minor, Lindsey was not eligible for the death penalty.

Earlier Story:

Clearwater, Florida - At 1:58 p.m., the jury in the case of accused teen cop-killer Nicholas Lindsey began deliberations in the high profile murder trial.

Shortly after lunch, the defense began its closing arguments, calling this case an "epic tragedy."  

Lead defense attorney Dyril Flanagan told jurors that the death of veteran St. Petersburg police officer David Crawford at the hands of Nicholas Lindsey was "senseless" and that the city lost "one of the finest."

Flanagan started out by saying that he wanted to correct prosecutors in calling Lindsey "a man."

"He was a snot-nose, whimpering boy. He is a boy.  A mama's boy," said Flanagan.  "His destiny is sealed."

The defense added that this is not a first degree murder case, rather a situation where manslaughter occurred.

"The true and correct verdict," said Flanagan, "is manslaughter."

Prosecutors say Lindsey admitted during a videotaped confession that he killed Officer David Crawford in February 2011 when the veteran cop tried to question the teenager as the then 16-year-old was breaking into a car.

"This boy was lost. He is a child," said Flanagan, trying to emphasize to jurors that the teen didn't realize the consequences of his actions.

Flanagan spent the majority of his closing arguments telling jurors that his client was tortured in the South St. Petersburg neighborhood where he lives.

"He was known as a mama's boy," Flanagan told jurors.  "He had to find a way to look tough."

Flanagan went on to say that now 17-year-old Lindsey was trying to "break away" from his mother who was trying to protect her "baby boy" from neighborhood kids.

"He was beaten up by the other kids," Flanagan maintained.  "What he did was wrong, but for these kids in that area, you have to survive."

State Attorney Bernie McCabe gave the state's rebuttal and told jurors, "Leave sympathy and emotion out of the jury room."

He added, "This was premeditation.  Nicholas Lindsey is guilty of first degree murder. It's sad for Officer Crawford's family and the city of St. Petersburg."

Earlier in the day, Assistant State Attorney Bruce Bartlett told jurors, "He made a conscious decision to take the police officer out."

If Lindsey is convicted of first degree murder, he could spend the rest of his life in prison.  His defense attorneys are hoping for a verdict of manslaughter so their client will eventually get our of prison during his life.

Lindsey cannot be sentenced to death because he is a minor.

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