Wednesday, July 18, 2012

State attorney race renews memories of brutal Bradenton murder

The Feb. 14, 2007, slaying of Bradenton retiree Daniel Ramsey was particularly heinous, memories of which were stirred up this week with the release of a political television ad in the race to be 12th Judicial District State Attorney.

As Ramsey and his wife Roberta were returning from a Valentine's Day lunch, they confronted a burglar emerging from their home. As Daniel Ramsey, who had armed himself with a knife, chased the suspect, later identified as Michael Walker, his accomplice, Anthony Lewis, came outside.

When Ramsey turned his attention to Lewis, the burglar pulled a gun he had taken from the Ramseys' nightstand and shot him to death.

After almost two years of legal proceedings, Walker and Lewis were convicted and sentenced to lengthy prison terms.

The case drew renewed attention this week with state attorney candidate Peter Lombardo's release of an ad featuring an interview with Roberta Ramsey in which she blames Lombardo's opponent, longtime Assistant State Attorney Ed Brodsky for her husband's death.

As the ad, and supporting documents attached to an online version of the ad, explain, Walker in 2006 had been charged with robbing a pizza deliveryman. However, the state attorney's office later declined to prosecute the case, saying it had been unable to locate the victim for further investigation. The decision was explained in a memo co-signed by Brodsky.

If Walker had been in jail, maybe Daniel Ramsey would have enjoyed more Valentine's Days with his wife.

"Ed Brodsky was responsible for my husband's death," Roberta Ramsey says in the ad.

Is this fair game?

Brodsky has been a senior prosecutor in the state's attorney's office for several years, and one way you hold that office -- which, as this episode reminds us, is headed by an elected official -- is to examine how it handles criminal cases brought to it by local law enforcement.

Brodsky explained that the victim could not be located, and also raised questions about how Lombardo paid for the ad. But his response could show Brodsky's concerns about how it might influence voters in the Aug. 14 Republican primary.

But is it OK to attack Brodsky's and the state attorney's office's performance if in doing, it takes advantage of a widow's pain? Isn't there another way to make the point without the risk of appearing like you are exploiting a tragedy?

Obviously, Lombardo took the risk.

As a result, maybe voters will be able to discern about Brodsky's ability to lead, and Lombardo's own character and qualifications for the office.


Read the Bradenton Herald story about the ad, and Brodsky's response, here.

Watch the ad and read the related documents, here.


  1. Kind of like blamng Andrew Johnson for killing Abe Lincoln

  2. The State Attorney is retiring and defense attorney Peter Lombardo is running for the seat. I don't know if any of you know him but beware! He was the defense attorney on a trial last week where he tried to hide evidence. It was a home invasion robbery where three masked people broke into a house, stole money, and Lomardo's guy tried to rape a female they had tied up. She IDd him by his distinctive shoes. He was arrested right afterward still wearing the shoes. The arresting ofc didn't collect the shoes but left them in the jail property. A year later (right before trial) Lombardo goes to the jail and takes the shoes out of property. When the lawyers asked him about it in court he said he wasn't going to produce the evidence and "the cops should have done their job and gotten them before I did". He eventually realized he was busted and brought the shoes to court. And THIS is who we want as the next State Attorney!?!?!?! (Oh and btw, the bad guy is doing life!)