Keys woman gets 10 years for killing Delray Beach officer in DUI crash

Lacy Marie Morris didn’t beg for forgiveness for killing a woman while drunk and high behind the wheel two years ago.

Instead, after pleading no contest to DUI manslaughter and other crimes in exchange for 10 years in prison, Morris said she believed there was no forgiveness for her.

“I wish I could ask for forgiveness but I really feel there is none,” Morris said through tears before Monroe County Circuit Judge Mark Jones late Friday afternoon. “All I can do is pray everyone will one day have a little bit of peace.”

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Gwen Filosa

Morris killed off-duty Delray Beach police officer Christine Braswell, 40, and injured another Delray officer, Bernenda Marc, when she smashed into the scooter the two women were riding at about 1:30 a.m. April 8, 2017 on Truman Avenue in Key West.

Braswell was driving the scooter and Marc was her passenger when an oncoming sedan, with Morris behind the wheel, went to make a left turn into a gas station and collided with the scooter. The two Delray Beach officers were taking a short vacation to Key West at the time.

Morris had a blood-alcohol level of 0.17 percent, more than double the legal limit, police said. Braswell was sober at the time, a toxicology report showed.

Morris, who will never again be allowed to have a driver’s license, said, “There are no words imaginable to describe how very truly sorry I am for what happened. I didn’t go out that night to maliciously cause harm to anyone.”

Delray Beach Police Officer Christine Braswell was a member of the SWAT team and a 12-year veteran of the department. Delray Beach Police Department Contributed

Morris faced a mandatory minimum of four years in prison for the manslaughter charge and a maximum of 22 years for three other charges, including possession of marijuana, and DUI with serious bodily injury and property damage. The DUI manslaughter charge carries up to 15 years.

She got five years for injuring Marc but the sentence runs concurrently with the 10 years for DUI manslaughter. Morris will receive two years of credit for time served since she never left jail after her arrest. After leaving prison Morris will serve two years of house arrest and then one year of probation.

“I struggled not to hate you for such a long time,” said Marc at the hearing. “I woke up in the hospital in so much pain with no idea of what happened.”

Marc said, “It’s your fault Christine isn’t here, it’s your fault you almost ended my life. You hurt three families to include your own and you hurt a community.”

Gwen Filosa

Marc was among a group of Delray Beach police who attended the hearing, along with Braswell’s parents, Daniel and Barbara Braswell.

Jones sentenced Morris to the terms negotiated between her defense attorney, Evan Hoffman, and the State Attorney’s Office after an emotional hearing at the county courthouse in Key West.

Daniel Braswell said his pain is indescribable. He told Morris that 1,700 people came to his daughter’s funeral and that on April 8, he received hundreds of messages from people whose lives were touched by Christine’s.

At her funeral, two homeless men walked 2.5 miles to attend to pay their respects, Christine’s father said. The two men said Christine Braswell arrested them several times but was always kind and respectful to them.

Delray officer memorial
Delray Beach Police Officer Christine Braswell’s patrol car was turned into a makeshift memorial after her death. Ashley Sybesma

“The only comfort I can get out of all of this is I know she’s in heaven sitting at the right hand of God as you sit in your prison cell,” Daniel Braswell said.

Barbara Braswell, Christine’s mother, said her daughter was her best friend. Their losses just aren’t the same, the mother said.

“In the end, you will go home to your family,” she told Morris.