A Davie police officer who threatened to send nude pictures and a sex video of his ex-girlfriend to their colleagues on the force in 2015 was found guilty Wednesday of extortion.
Officer James Krey, 40, faces a maximum prison sentence of 15 years when he’s sentenced next month.
The jury of three men and three women took just 20 minutes to decide that Krey threatened to release the pictures and video unless the ex-girlfriend agreed to resign her position with the Davie Police Department.
The victim, 26, testified that she was a rookie when she met Krey on the job in late 2013. Her relationship with Krey lasted more than a year but was rocky, she said. The two repeatedly made up and broke up over the course of several months, she said.
But March 9, 2015, which started with the pair exchanging “I love you” text messages, ended with Krey furiously demanding that she resign from the force and leave Broward County. Otherwise, she said, he would send the pictures to the SWAT team and others.
“Jimmy, please don’t destroy me. I will leave the department,” she said in one text message, which she read to the jury.
“You’re going to have to leave Broward, sweetheart,” he replied. “Anywhere you go, I have people.”
Prosecutors Chris Killoran and Whitney Mackay told jurors that Krey, a one-time Davie Police Officer of the Year who had 11 years of service with the agency at the time of his arrest, convicted himself with his messages to the victim.
“Leave Davie,” Mackay said, quoting one of Krey’s messages, which was preceded by nude pictures the victim had sent to Krey while their relationship was still romantic. Mackay agreed with the defense argument that there was nothing wrong legally with Krey having the photos.
“But that does not give him the right later to share those pictures with the SWAT team,” she said.
Defense lawyer Jeremy Kroll admitted Krey handled the breakup poorly, but he argued that Krey did not commit extortion. The victim had already talked to several people about moving away from Broward and finding a job in Jacksonville, Kroll said.
But the jury agreed with Killoran and Mackay, who showed that Krey tied the release of the photos to his demand that his ex-girlfriend quit her job.
The victim testified Wednesday morning and returned to the courtroom in the late afternoon to hear the verdict. She was tearful as she left the courtroom, declining to comment.
She remains a Davie police officer.
Krey had been suspended without pay. Broward Circuit Judge Dennis Bailey set sentencing for late February. He also declined to adjudicate Krey, which would make the conviction official. Withholding adjudication gives the judge greater flexibility in showing mercy during sentencing.
Krey will remain free on a $30,000 bond until sentencing. He and Kroll did not comment as they left the courtroom.