Death plot draws 13-year prison term Man pleaded guilty in 1987 slaying

June 19, 1996|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,SUN STAFF

Stephen Andrew Lucado, who pleaded guilty in December to conspiring to murder an Irvington handyman on an isolated dirt road near Finksburg nine years ago, was sentenced to 13 years in state prison yesterday.

In accordance with the plea arrangement, Carroll County Circuit Judge Luke K. Burns Jr. suspended all but 13 years of the sentence and placed Lucado on five years of probation upon his release.

Lucado, 42, of Roanoke, Va., was a principal witness for prosecutor David Daggett at the murder trial last month of Cordell Albert Patton, once Lucado's good friend. A Carroll County Circuit Court jury deliberated less than three hours before convicting Patton of the March 27, 1987, shotgun slaying of John C. Ruhs.

Patton will be sentenced Aug. 26 and could be sentenced to life without possibility of parole.

Daggett depicted Patton, 41, as a jealous husband who could not accept that Diane Patton, his wife at the time, had had a brief affair with Ruhs in the fall of 1986, five months before Ruhs was killed.

The prosecutor portrayed Lucado as a gullible friend of the Pattons who believed Ruhs had raped Diane Patton and wanted to help the couple get even with Ruhs.

Lucado testified at Patton's trial that the murder plot called for Diane Patton to lure Ruhs, 46, to the remote location near Liberty Reservoir. Lucado said he and Cordell Patton followed and shot Ruhs.

Lucado said he fired the first blast from a 12-gauge shotgun, striking Ruhs in the shoulder. He said Patton then shot Ruhs three times.

Diane Patton, who was granted immunity for her testimony, corroborated Lucado's account, saying she was forced to go along with the plan because she feared her former husband's physical and sexual abuse.

Pub Date: 6/19/96

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