A tip from viewers of a television crime program led to the arrest last night in Baltimore of the No. 6 man on the U.S. Marshal Service's 15 most-wanted fugitives list.
Michael Antonio Lucas, 31, who was armed, was arrested in north Baltimore about 7:30 p.m., according to Joyce A. McDonald, a spokeswoman for the service. She would not disclose where he was captured.
Lucas is being held at the Baltimore City Detention Center, McDonald said.
Lucas was convicted of the fatal stabbing of a man on a District of Columbia sidewalk in 1984. He had been serving a sentence of 20 years to life in a Texas prison since 1985 for the murder when he and three other inmates used wire cutters to escape from a recreation area last Nov. 10. Two of his fellow escapees have been recaptured; the other remains at large.
Marshals conducted a manhunt to find Lucas after the escape, officials said, but the effort stalled until his story was aired on the television show "America's Most Wanted" July 12. Viewers provided authorities with information of Lucas' whereabouts.
"It was the assistance of private citizens responding to a television profile . . . that led to his arrest," said K. Michael Moore, director of the Marshal Service.
Marshals organized a surveillance in Baltimore, where they believe Lucas had begun to sell illegal narcotics. No drug charges have been filed yet, McDonald said.
Deputy marshals, including those from a special task force that sought Lucas, arrested the fugitive with little resistance even though he was carrying a .380-caliber semiautomatic weapon, officials said. Lucas was accompanied by a man identified as Freddie Artis, who was armed with a Tec-9 submachine gun and was also arrested, officials said.
McDonald did not have any information on Artis' connection to Lucas or charges pending against him.
Art Roderick, a marshal and director of the special task force, said his office had been moving toward capturing Lucas in recent days.
"It is very satisfying to all the members of the Marshal Service
task force that this dangerous and treacherous individual is off the street and in our custody," Roderick said.
Lucas and an associate, Willie Smith, were convicted in January 1985 of first-degree murder for stabbing Thomas Morris to death in a case of mistaken identity. Police say Smith had been robbed a week earlier and believed that Thomas was involved in the robbery.
Lucas originally was imprisoned at the Lorton Correctional facility in Virginia. In June 1990, he was transferred to the Frio County Jail in Pearsall, Texas, a contract facility used to house District of Columbia prisoners.
A spokesman for "America's Most Wanted" said Lucas was the 165th fugitive to be caught from tips that originated with the program.