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Assailant Sentenced to 27 Years for Jail-Cell Sodomy, Robbery

Times Staff Writer

A Lake View Terrace man described by probation officials as being “not fit to live in civilized society” was sentenced to 27 years and eight months in state prison Thursday for sodomizing and robbing an 18-year-old Sylmar man in a jail cell at the Foothill Division police station.

San Fernando Superior Court Judge Dana Senit Henry imposed the sentence on Webster Lucas, 30, who was convicted on five charges stemming from the August, 1983, jail-cell attack and an attempted robbery in Pacoima three hours earlier.

A jury last month found Lucas guilty of two counts of forcible sodomy and one count each of robbery, attempted robbery and forcible oral copulation.

Lucas was convicted of attacking the victim, who is serving a six-month sentence for joy riding, minutes after a jailer put the two men and another prisoner in the same cell. According to the victim’s testimony, Lucas muffled the youth’s cries with a pillow and threatened to kill him if he summoned help.

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During sentencing, Deputy Dist. Atty. Kenneth Loveman called “pathetic” Lucas’ criminal history, which includes robbery, forgery and drug convictions.

‘Society Has Failed’

“The defendant is not going to be punished by one year in prison or 30,” Loveman said. “He is beyond punishment and he is beyond rehabilitation. Society has failed with him and the only thing we can do is lock him up . . . and keep him off the street for as long as possible.”

A probation report said Lucas’ primary source of income is crime. The report quoted Lucas as saying that he smokes cigarettes treated with PCP daily and did not remember the attack.

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“I was out,” Lucas was quoted as telling officials. “I don’t even remember being in the police car or in jail. Three days later I realized I was eating breakfast at central jail.”

After describing the violence of the Pacoima robbery and the jail-cell attack, a probation officer concluded that “surely such animalistic actions clearly indicate that this defendant is not fit to live in civilized society.”

Judge Henry agreed, citing Lucas’ “extensive record of violence and assaultive behavior that is growing to alarming proportions” as reason for imposing the lengthy sentence.

The victim has filed a claim against the city asking compensation for “mental damage” from the jail attack. His attorney, John Marlette, said the victim has decided not to press charges against Lucas for a second, more recent attack.

During the second attack, Lucas allegedly beat the youth after sheriff’s deputies inadvertently placed the two men in the same cell again as they were waiting to be taken to the San Fernando courthouse for Lucas’ trial.

Vulnerability Cited

“I went down and talked to him in jail and encouraged him to press charges,” Marlette said of the victim. “He just looked at me and asked, ‘What guarantee do you have that I’ll be safe?’ He’s vulnerable down there. I know I wouldn’t make a complaint against Lucas if I were him.”

Lucas becomes eligible for parole after serving half of his sentence, the prosecutor said.

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