Steven Lucas

*** I want to note that before I start that I have found his name as Steven Baker Lucas, as well as Baker Steven Lucas.  I am simply using Steven Lucas throughout as this is what he is most commonly known as.***

It had been a while since I had seen anything about this case on any of the many shows that I watch.  I was surprised to know there was so much controversy about this case.  Based solely on the research that I could find and from what I remember from documentaries I have seen on the case I believe(d) that Steven Lucas was guilty of the crime he was convicted.  It appears that much of the controversy is more surrounded his ability to successfully appeal his case rather than the facts themselves, although there is a belief among many that Steven Lucas was innocent of the charges.

On June 5, 1988 sixty-six year old wealthy heiress, Tylerite "Bette" Lucas died in her home in Tyler Texas.  Her son, Steven and his teenage daughter were present.  He would claim, and his daughter would apparently agree, that Bette was in nothing short of a "cranky" mood and an argument had ensued over a VCR that Bette was carrying up the stairs and they began to wrestle over. He would claim that she would fall over the banister.

Investigators would believe that Steven had beaten his mother with a large object.  They speculated that it could have been a brass candlestick but apparently they were unsure.  The motive?  Prosecutors say that Steven Lucas was in massive debt at the time.  They claim he owed over $500,000 to creditors and the oil company he owned was going under.  For her part, Bette controlled the estate left to her by her husband and apparently after continually giving money to Steven as of late she had stopped and refused to give him more.  Prosecutors believed he killed his mother for his inheritance.

Steven first went to trial in April of 1991 in Tyler.  It ended in a hung jury and a mistrial was granted.  Steven's second trial was moved to Dallas County, apparently under the request of the defense, and took place in August of 1994. After twenty-two hours of deliberation the jury found him guilty.  On November 22, 1994 Steven was sentenced to thirty-five years and a ten thousand dollar fine.  

The next few years Steven filed his appeals pro se, meaning without an attorney.  I could not substantiate claims that he had told the court he was indigent to have a court appointed attorney but was denied.  It was said that it was supposedly denied because he had not asked his family to sell the home to help pay for a defense.  To be truthful, not only do I know if this is true, but depending on the circumstances I am unsure that it is legal or proper to do. At any rate his appeals were denied several times.  It seems that in late 2001 or 2002 he was able to obtain counsel and they had requested the court transcripts. The problem was that not all of the transcripts could be found. Eventually some were found but there was four days missing.  Steven's attorney's were apparently hopeful this would lead to Steven receiving a new trial.

However, in 2003 the appeals court decided that the request for those files had taken too long. They also argued that the television station Court TV had aired the trial on their channel and the attorney's, nor Lucas himself, had attempted to contact them to see what they may or may not have still retained. Many have argued that this was not a valid excuse for the courts to give, just as it is often argued when appeals are denied due to a lack of filing before a deadline. However, in this case a little more digging showed that it was not simply as easy as he missed the deadline, although that is the reasoning.  It was stated that the transcripts were not first requested not only six years after the deadline through the courts but three years after the court reporter was allowed by law to purge notes.  It was in that appeal that once again the conviction and sentence were affirmed.

Little is known about Steven after this point.  He does not appear in the Department of Corrections website as being an inmate.  It appears that he was eligible for parole in 2008 but was denied.  It was said that his next chance was in 2011 so it appears that he was released at that time.  

I should note that a Steven Lucas from Tyler Texas was killed in a car accident in 2011 but this was not the same Steven Lucas.  I have seen the obituary for this man on Findagrave.com and it is not the Steven Lucas from this case.  I looked under all names that he could have been under and found no more information on him. 



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