An escaped murderer, captured in Baltimore last year when he was one of the 15 most-wanted fugitives, was sentenced today to 20 years in federal prison without parole for his conviction on weapons charges.
Michael Antonio Lucas, 32, will begin serving the sentence after he completes a federal term of 20 years to life on a 1985 murder conviction.
In sentencing Lucas in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, Judge Frederic N. Smalkin cited Lucas' murder conviction and a previous criminal history that began when he was 18. The judge also accepted a statement by Assistant U.S. Attorney Bonnie S. Greenberg that Lucas tried to reach for a 9mm handgun while marshals were arresting him last August at Milton and Monument streets in East Baltimore.
On the witness stand today, Lucas denied trying to reach for the weapon. He said marshals held two guns to his head while they placed handcuffs on his wrists and shackles on his ankles.
"In no way, shape or form was he trying to draw his weapon," his defense attorney, William H. Klumpp Jr., told the judge. "It would have been foolish for him to do so."
But Judge Smalkin said he did not believe Lucas. "If the marshals had not been careful, there could have been violence," said the judge, who noted that Lucas and a co-defendant were driving in a van wearing bulletproof vests and were armed with two semiautomatic handguns.
In November 1990, Lucas escaped from a Texas prison, where he was serving a sentence for the 1984 stabbing death of a Washington man. Escape charges are pending.
He was arrested with Freddie Artis, 32, of Seat Pleasant, last Aug. 12 by a special task force of the U.S. Marshal Service a month after the television show "America's Most Wanted" aired a segment about him. Artis was sentenced Jan. 22 to two years in federal prison after pleading guilty to harboring a fugitive and to weapons offenses.
Today, Lucas told the judge he was "sorry for wasting the court's time."
"If I had known it was going to cause all the trouble, I would have stayed where I was," said Lucas. He pleaded guilty in October to the charges, and today rescinded his Jan. 21 motion to withdraw the plea.
Judge Smalkin told Lucas he is a danger to law enforcement officers and the public.