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Jury Ponders on Life or Death for Lucas

A jury Monday began deciding the punishment of convicted murderer David Lucas, but stopped after two hours and will resume its deliberations today.

The San Diego Superior Court jury is deciding whether Lucas, 34, a carpet cleaner from Spring Valley, should be put to death or sentenced to life in prison without parole for the murders of two women and a small child.

The jury heard closing arguments Monday in which the prosecutor called Lucas “a butcher” who had “a lust for death.”

Deputy Dist. Atty. Dan Williams told jurors that Lucas deserves the death penalty and said the state of California should abolish it if someone like Lucas doesn’t merit it.

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He urged the jury to get into the “battle between good and evil” by asking that someone like Lucas who committed “the ultimate acts of evil” be executed.

“We know this lust for death will sit with Mr. Lucas for the rest of his life,” said Williams.

Executions Described

Responding, Lucas’ attorney Steve Feldman urged jurors to spare him and described in detail the execution process in San Quentin State Prison.

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He said the act of execution, involving Lucas “writhing” for 15 minutes while suffocating in the gas chamber, was “more cold-blooded than any of the murders Mr. Lucas has been convicted of.”

Staring coldly at Williams, the defense attorney urged the jury not to satisfy the prosecutor’s “lust for killing David Lucas.”

Feldman cited remarks made by anti-death proponents, including Mother Teresa, Pope John Paul II and Benjamin Franklin.

“Mr. Lucas is not in the category of the irredeemable,” Feldman said.

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He cited testimony by Lucas’ family members who begged the jury last week to spare him.

“Mercy, mercy, the noblest of human emotions . . . which distinguishes us from the animals,” Feldman said.

Lucas was convicted June 21 of the first-degree murders of University of San Diego student Anne Swanke, 22, on Nov. 20, 1984 and of Suzanne Jacobs, 31, and her son, Colin Jacobs, 3, on May 4, 1979. He was also found guilty of attempting to murder Jodie Santiago-Robertson, 34, of Seattle, in a June 8, 1984, attack.


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