A jury has convicted a Tampa Bay area man of the lesser charge of second-degree murder in the fatal beating of his wife.
Hillsborough County prosecutors had been seeking a first-degree murder conviction and mandatory life sentence for 46-year-old Lawrence Dickey, but Wednesday's verdict means he could receive as little as 20 years at his Jan. 25 sentencing.
Prosecutors say Lawrence and his wife, 44-year-old Beatrice Dickey, had been fighting over his excessive drinking during a Tampa Journey concert in September 2011. After she went to bed at their Plant City home, Lawrence Dickey struck his wife with an aluminum baseball bat.
Defense attorneys acknowledged that Dickey killed his wife but argued that the attack was not premeditated. Dickey testified that he was intoxicated and couldn't remember the attack.