Guilty in Mother's Death
The New York Times
Thursday, November 24, 1994
A man who said his wealthy socialite mother fell
over a bannister as they grappled over a videocassette recorder has
been convicted of beating her to death to preserve his inheritance.
Jurors deliberated more than 22 hours before
reaching the verdict on Tuesday against the defendant, Baker Steven
Lucas 3d. Mr. Lucas's first trial in 1991 ended with the jury
Mr. Lucas, 49, was convicted in the beating death
of his 66-year-old mother, Bette Baker Lucas, at her home in Tyler on
June 6, 1988. He faces a sentence that could range from probation to
life in prison.
Texas v. Lucas (11/94)
Steven Baker Lucas was retried for the June 5,
1988 murder of his millionaire mother. The state claimed Lucas
bludgeoned 66-year-old Bette Lucas to death -- possibly with a brass
candlestick -- for money.
The state introduced evidence showing Lucas, 49,
was having financial troubles at the time of his mother's death. He
owed more than $500,000 to creditors and his oil company was going
out of business.
At the same time, Bette Lucas was refusing to
lend her son anymore money and she controlled his father's estate.
The defense argued that Bette Lucas accidentally
fell over a second-story banister and down a flight of steps in her
home after she and her son struggled over a 30-pound plus
The defense conceded that Lucas needed money but
that his financial situation was not as serious as the state claimed.
The first trial in 1991 ended in a mistrial after
the jury deadlocked 8-4 to find him guilty of murder.
On November 22, 1994, a jury found Lucas guilty
of first-degree murder. He was sentenced to 35 years in prison and
assessed the maximum fine of $10,000.