Pepper spray death headed for trial - FOX 35 News Orlando

Pepper spray death headed for trial

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  • Pepper spray death headed for trialMore>>

  • Photo shows pepper-sprayed prisoner

    Photo shows pepper-sprayed prisoner

    A picture of 62-year-old Nick Christie could be worth thousands of dollars when a jury sees it. The photo shows the Ohio man restrained inside the Lee County Jail with his body covered in pepper spray.
    A picture of 62-year-old Nick Christie could be worth thousands of dollars when a jury sees it. The photo shows the Ohio man restrained inside the Lee County Jail with his body covered in pepper spray.
  • Widow sues over pepper spray death

    Widow sues over pepper spray death

    A man in Ft. Myers in need of medical attention died after he was repeatedly pepper sprayed by law enforcement. Now, his widow has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Lee County Sheriff's Office.
    A man in Ft. Myers in need of medical attention died after he was repeatedly pepper sprayed by law enforcement. Now, his widow has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Lee County Sheriff's Office.
  • What's really in pepper spray?

    What's really in pepper spray?

    Pepper spray is supposed to be a safe option for law enforcement, but how safe is it? Surprisingly, even law enforcement can't even tell you exactly what's in it.
    Pepper spray is supposed to be a safe option for law enforcement, but how safe is it? Surprisingly, even law enforcement can't even tell you exactly what's in it.
TAMPA (FOX 13) -

Was it torture or necessary force used to try and bring Nick Christie under control? A district court judge believes a jury could "conclude that the Corrections defendants were not attempting to maintain or restore discipline but rather were simply attempting to harm Christie."

The strong words came from Judge Paul A. Magnuson, who ordered the case will move forward. Joyce Christie, Nick's widow, is happy she may finally get justice for her husband.

Her attorney, Nick Dicello, sent us a statement which said, "Joyce Christie is very pleased with the court's recent ruling. She is grateful that after almost four years, the shocking circumstances surrounding her husband Nick's death will soon be presented to a jury."

FOX 13 first broke this story several years ago. The picture of Nick Christie inside the Lee County Jail shocked our audience as well as people around the world who viewed it on the internet.

The photo shows Christie restrained inside the jail his body completely covered in pepper spray.

"This photo is a picture of a man who is strapped to a chair naked inside a jail for hours with a hood over his face. That evokes thoughts of being tortured," said Cleveland-based lawyer Nick DiCello.

The photo, which was obtained by FOX 13 Investigates, was taken in the final hours of Christie's life.

Judge Magnuson wrote in his order, "The corner determined the cause of death was homicide due to OC poisoning."

OC is Oleoresin Capsicum, also known as pepper spray.

To this day, nobody was ever charged with a crime and the Lee County state attorney cleared the sheriff's office of any wrong doing.

Joyce Christie says her husband was depressed and was showing signs of erratic behavior a few days before leaving for Florida in March of 2009. She called authorities and pleaded that her husband be taken to a hospital and given his medications.

Instead, he was taken to jail for disorderly intoxication. Her lawsuit alleges he was pepper sprayed 10 times over a 48-hour period, at times while in a restraint chair.

Judge Magnuson's order confirms these allegations. "Christie was sprayed more than 12 times with pepper spray."

The sheriff declined to comment on our story because of Joyce Christie's wrongful death lawsuit, which is now scheduled for trial later this year.

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