Triggerman finally indicted in 2008 murder-for-hire

A federal grand jury has indicted Troy Lucas for the 2008 murder of Robert Long.

According to the June 7 indictment (which was unsealed today), Lucas, a member of Dead Man, Incorporated, was acting on the orders of Jose J. Morales, a drug-dealer, mortgage fraudster, arsonist, and jack-leg construction contractor (he worked on the XS restaurant on Charles Street). After a consequence-free 15-year criminal career, facing many years in state prison for a routine theft of scaffolding, Morales put out the hit on Long, the state's star witness in that case. 

On the word of another associate of Lucas, Baltimore police and prosecutors charged and convicted an African-American man, Demetrius Smith, for the murder. He was sentenced to life, but a federal investigation resulted in Smith's release after he served about four years in state prison and jail.

Morales was brought to trial in 2013. A jury convicted him and he was sentenced to life in prison. I was subpoenaed as a witness in the trial.  

A fellow member of Dead Man, Inc., who served time in state prison with Lucas testified at length, saying he was there the night of the murder and that Lucas was the triggerman. That witness was later beaten by another DMI member, Anthony E. Alascio, wielding a sock filled with batteries and dominoes. Alascio confessed to the beating, saying the witness "told on my peoples so he got what he deserved," according to a press release by the U.S. Attorney's Office. He pleaded guilty last week and faces sentencing in October, when he could receive 20 years. 

If convicted, Lucas could get life in prison for his part in the murder conspiracy. Morales allegedly paid him $20,000 to put two .25 caliber bullets in his former employee's head.

"This investigation has resulted in several convictions and the exoneration of an innocent man who was wrongly convicted and sentenced to life in state prison," said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein in a statement. 

Asked about the long delay in charging Lucas, who a witness fingered in court nearly three years ago, Rosenstein emailed: "We make sure to dot each i and cross every t before we file a murder charge. A lot of puzzle pieces needed to be assembled. It is always challenging to prosecute a murder case, and it is especially challenging after an innocent person was convicted and sentenced to serve life in state prison."

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