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Attorneys plan wrongful death suit

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Grant puts Citrus sheriff’s office on notice

By Abdon Sidibe

INVERNESS — The attorney for the family of a young mother killed last year has put the sheriff’s office on notice about an imminent wrongful death lawsuit and is lobbing more allegations at the agency and sheriff he accuses of exhibiting “total disregard for the law.”

In a news conference at his law firm, attorney Bill Grant said the time has come for the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office to turn over all the documents he’s been requesting in the past year in the death of Jamie Seeger, 27.

He also wants the sheriff’s office to turn over all evidence relating to the gun used in Seeger’s killing — a gun Grant said belonged to multiple deputies in the sheriff’s office before being used to kill Seeger.

He wants the investigation of the case transferred to an independent law enforcement agency.

And, on behalf of Seeger’s mother, Wendy Moore, he announced his intention to sue the agency, claiming wrongful death in the Seeger case.

It’s been almost a year since the former confidential informant was gunned down in the early hours of the morning on a street in a neighborhood near Crystal River.

In the subsequent months following Seeger’s death on July 25, 2012, Grant has been involved in highly publicized wrangling with CCSO over access to records.

 Seeger was gunned down near the intersection of West Cyrus Street and Reynolds Avenue at 3 a.m. She was found sitting in the driver’s seat, dead from gunshot wounds, according to investigators.

Grant has previously filed a Sunshine Law lawsuit against the agency, asking for records pertaining to Seeger’s work as an informant prior to her death, and he recently sent letters to the State Attorney’s Office requesting information about the gun used in Seeger’s killing.

At Wednesday’s news conference, Grant was flanked by his law partner Rick Dozier, Moore, Seeger’s sister Terri Oulch, and his co-counsel in the upcoming wrongful death suit, Lance Block, who famously represented Rachel Hoffman’s family. Hoffman was the Tallahassee police informant who was killed in 2008 during a bad drug deal. Hoffman inspired Rachel’s Law. The law spells out several provisions for law enforcement agencies about how to use confidential informants and also provide for their safety.

Grant and Seeger’s mother allege the sheriff’s office ignored Seeger’s worries and warnings about her safety and sent her on a possible drug buy that fateful morning. The sheriff’s office has denied that allegation, saying though Seeger had been an informant for the agency, she was not an informant at the time of her death. The agency also denies the applicability of Rachel’s Law to this case.

Block said from the information he has, the sheriff’s office has dropped the ball in the case and may have violated provisions of Rachel’s Law and that there is a clear case of conflict of interest.

“It’s befuddling that six months ago three people were arrested for her murder and we are just now hearing about the gun,” Block said. “It underscores the lack of transparency. The purpose of the news conference was to demonstrate that the public is being stonewalled and family is being stonewalled,” he said after the press conference.

Seeger’s mother also is pointing a finger at the agency, claiming a lack of transparency.

“It all comes back to the sheriff’s department. There is more than they are telling us,” Moore said. 

Both Block and Moore would like to see an independent agency like the Florida Department of Law Enforcement step in.

While the sheriff’s office declined comment regarding the news conference, citing that the case has yet to come to trial, officials provided the Chronicle with a timeline for the weapon used in the slaying.

According to CCSO, the gun was purchased for the agency in 2009 and two deputies used the gun from that time until it was traded in June of 2010. Another deputy purchased the traded-in gun shortly thereafter and gave it to a relative, according to the CCSO timeline.

However, the gun was reportedly stolen in May of 2012 during a rash of burglaries in the relative’s neighborhood.

The gun was used in Seeger’s killing in July of 2012; in November of 2012, the CCSO dive team fished out the gun from under the Howard Frankland Bridge in Tampa Bay.

Grant said the time that the gun was removed from under the bridge raises even more questions.

He said the defendants in the case, Marrio Williams, 27, of Dunnellon, Lawrence Vickers, 45, of Crystal River and Curtis Wilson, 30, of St. Petersburg were not arrested until December of 2012.

Grant said he is unsure who told the CCSO where to find the gun, “but don’t let anyone tell you the defendants told them where to find the gun.”

He said the sheriff’s office refuses to turn over the names of the deputies who previously had the gun and the agency refuses to hand over “information in the death of Jamie Seeger that is righteously public information” — information Grant said Seeger’s mother and husband have the right to know.

Contact Chronicle reporter A.B. Sidibe at 352-564-2925 or asidibe@chronicleonline.com. 

GUN TIMELINE

* In February 2009, the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) received a Glock model 22 .40 caliber No. MAA-400 from Lou’s Police Supply in Miami. According to the sheriff’s office, this is the history of that gun:

* On Feb. 19, 2009, this gun was received into the CCSO inventory.

* On April 6, 2009, the gun was issued to a CCSO deputy.

* On Feb. 2, 2010, the gun was received back into inventory (i.e., turned in by the deputy).

* On March 30, 2010, the gun was issued to a CCSO deputy.

* On May 26, 2010, the gun was received back into inventory (i.e., turned in by that deputy).

* On June 26, 2010, the gun was traded to OMB Guns (an approved Glock vendor).

* On June 26, 2010, the gun was purchased from OMB Guns by a CCSO deputy. The deputy at some point gave the gun to a relative. 

* On May 21, 2012, the relative reported that the gun was stolen. (There was a rash of vehicle burglaries that occurred in the neighborhood in which at least six vehicles had items stolen).

* On Nov. 19, 2012, the weapon used in the Jamie Seeger homicide was recovered by the CCSO dive team in Hillsborough County off of the Howard Frankland Bridge. The gun was then traced back to the timeline above.