Justice Lucas Believed Target of 2 Escapees

United Press International

Two escaped convicts from Chicago are believed to be headed for California to seek revenge on state Supreme Court Justice Malcolm Lucas, who as a federal judge in Los Angeles sentenced one of them, authorities said today.

Lucas and his family were informed of the threat several days ago but the justice has declined comment, according to court spokeswoman Lynne Holton.

California State Police notified all state law enforcement agencies of the threat to Lucas by escapee Hugh T. Colomb, the U.S. Marshals Service said.

Colomb, 31, serving 48 years for armed robbery, voluntary manslaughter and assaulting a federal officer, was sentenced to prison by Lucas in 1977.


Colomb escaped from the Federal Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago on May 14 along with Bernard Welch, 45, who was serving a 148-year prison term for murder.

Both men were believed to be on their way to California to seek out Lucas, according to the U.S. Marshals Service.

Concerned by Threats

Holton said Lucas was aware of “threats of retaliation” and is “concerned.”


Lucas sentenced Colomb to the maximum term of 25 years in federal prison for a Los Angeles bank robbery in 1977. Colomb was later convicted of manslaughter in the 1979 knifing of a Marion, Ill., prison convict.

Welch, considered a “master thief” by authorities, was convicted of killing Dr. Michael Halberstam, a prominent Washington cardiologist, in 1980.

Halberstam was shot by Welch when he discovered Welch burglarizing his home.

The Marshal’s Service has been conducting an intensive search for the pair since the May 14 escape, according to Marshal’s Service Director Stanley E. Morris.


Lucas, 56, is known as a tough sentencer. He is the newest member of California’s seven-member Supreme Court.

Lucas was Gov. George Deukmejian’s first appointment to the court and was the governor’s former law partner. He was appointed on March 12, 1984.

He was named to the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles in 1971 by then-President Richard M. Nixon.