Lucas' boyfriend is arrested

April 03, 1993|By Jay Apperson | Jay Apperson,Staff Writer

One day after a mistrial was declared in the Tonya Lucas arson and murder trial, the East Baltimore woman's boyfriend was arrested and charged with abusing two of the couple's children, police said.

William Cook III, 29, was arrested without incident about 7:30 a.m. yesterday at a home in which he was staying in the 4500 block of Parkside Drive in Northeast Baltimore, said Agent Doug Price, a city police spokesman. He was charged with abusing two of the couple's children, including a 2-year-old boy who weighed 10 pounds and showed signs of broken bones when he died in an arson fire at the family rowhouse at 2424 E. Eager St.

Ms. Lucas is charged with murdering six of her seven children by setting the July 7, 1992, fire. Mr. Cook testified on her behalf during her trial, which ended Thursday when the jury could not reach a unanimous verdict. Ms. Lucas is also charged with abusing Gregory Cook, the 2-year-old.

Because she is to receive a separate trial on the child abuse charge, no mention of the abuse or the boy's condition was made during the murder trial.

After the trial ended in a mistrial, however, police said Ms. Lucas set the fire to kill Gregory and cover up signs of his abuse.

Sgt. Gary Childs shared that theory during an emotional post-trial debate with defense lawyer Mark A. Van Bavel in a courthouse hallway.

That debate came after angry words had been exchanged between homicide detectives and members of the Lucas family. At one point, Detective Bertina Silver and one of Ms. Lucas' sisters argued over whether the woman had intentionally bumped into the detective.

Kim Lucas, 21, filed a report of common assault against Detective Silver later Thursday evening with police, Mr. Price said. In the report, the woman said she was walking down the courthouse hallway when the detective grabbed her around the left shoulder and turned her around and stated, "You don't bump into me. I'll have you locked up."

In the report the woman said she would press charges with a District Court commissioner unless she receives an apology.

Also yesterday, prosecutor Jack I. Lesser and Mr. Van Bavel sought unsuccessfully to agree on a date for Ms. Lucas' retrial on the murder charges. They will meet again Wednesday to try to find an acceptable trial date.

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