St. Louis man acquitted of double murder after fourth trial

Sunday, November 19, 2006

ST. LOUIS -- Following his fourth trial for crimes he always denied, a St. Louis man was acquitted of murdering two people and shooting a young boy in what prosecutors called the planned robbery of a fellow drug dealer.

A jury ended nine hours of deliberation Friday night by finding 29-year-old Ronnie Lucious not guilty of first-degree murder, assault and armed criminal action.

"His reaction was, 'Thank God,"' defense lawyer Stephen Reynolds said.

Lucious was charged in the August 2002 shootings of his friend Julius Caesar Evans Jr.; Evans' 51-year-old mother, Zelma Glass; and Glass's grandson, 11-year-old Dennis Miller. Only the boy survived.

Lucious' first trial, in May 2005, ended with jurors deadlocked 10-2 in favor of acquittal. Last November, a different jury deadlocked 10-2 the other way. In February, jurors interviewed after the trial said they were deadlocked 11-1 in favor of a guilty verdict from the start.

Co-defendant Timothy Williams -- Lucious' brother -- was convicted earlier and sentenced to life plus 45 years for Evans' death. But Williams was acquitted of the shooting of Dennis and Glass, despite Dennis' testimony that Williams pulled the trigger.

Lucious and his lawyers have always maintained that Williams and another man did the shooting and that Lucious had tried to warn his friend about the plot. Reynolds said Lucious never entered plea negotiations and always maintained his innocence.

Williams testified for the first time in Lucious' latest trial, admitting he shot Evans once but claiming a third man shot Glass and Dennis and fired the shot that killed Evans.

Glass died clutching her rosary beads and a teddy bear. The bullet that hit Dennis somehow lodged just under his skin behind his ear. The boy pulled the bullet out, put it in his pocket and biked home for help.

Prosecutor Don Tyson suggested that Williams' testimony was a lie intended to win his brother's freedom.

But Williams said he hadn't testified at the first three trials because he feared being punished in prison. Now, he said, he wanted to "come clean."

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