Mother Found Guilty of Killing Six Children With Fire
Jul. 30, 1993
BALTIMORE (AP) _ A jury convicted a woman of murder and arson today for setting a fire at her home that killed six of her seven children.
The trial in city court was the second for Tonya Lucas, 29. The jury in the first trial was deadlocked. The jury that returned today's verdict deliberated about 11 hours over three days.
Prosecutors contended that Ms. Lucas was facing eviction from her home and set the fire last July so she could receive help from relief agencies. Ms. Lucas, her boyfriend, William Cook, and her 8-year-old son, William Lucas, escaped the fire, but heavy smoke choked the others, who ranged in age from 2 months to 12 years old.
Defense attorneys said it was absurd to believe Ms. Lucas would douse her home with gasoline and then run upstairs to wait for flames to engulf the house. The defense argued in the first trial that the evidence pointed to a man who was found with gasoline on his clothing.