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Convicted murderer sentenced to life in prison without parole

Columbia man convicted of murder...

COLUMBIA, Mo. - A Boone County judge sentenced 25-year-old Darius Lucas to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

He is also set to serve an additional 100 years for two counts of armed criminal action.

Lucas was convicted in May of two counts of first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of Kenneth Long and James Richardson. 

Richardson was found about 75 feet from Mexico Gravel road on Sept. 19. About an hour later, a K-9 unit discovered Long about 150 yards away.

In Monday's sentencing, defense attorney David Wallis argued for a new trial, saying there were several issues with the original trial, including a key witness for Lucas that wasn't called and a jury instruction that was omitted that would have clarified "jailhouse snitch testimony.

Crane remained unconvinced and denied Wallis's motion. 

Two family members of the victims took the stand to read prepared statements. Kenneth Long's daughter talked about how her father was an innocent bystander and wouldn't be there for her graduation in 2018.

"I lost so much and so did my family but we're not the only ones that lost that day," she said. "That's the day that Darious lost, too. All of us lost because of Darious."

Prosecutor Stephanie Morrell said during the May trial that the killings were a drug deal gone wrong. She said Lucas planned to kill Richardson for weeks and that Long was killed so that there wouldn't be any witnesses.

Wallis had argued that there had been drug deals between the men in the past but someone else had killed Long and Richardson.

Judge Crane sentenced Lucas to two life sentences without the possibility of parole and allowed for 50 years each for two armed criminal action charges. The minimum is three.

Morrell requested the armed criminal action charges be served after the life sentence, but Wallis said that would only be symbolic. Crane allowed them to be served after, not concurrently.

Lucas said Monday on his own behalf that he felt like he was not fairly represented by his attorney. He said he'd only seen Wallis three times during trial, and that Wallis pressured him out of testifying.

"He told me that if I did testify, it would scream a guaranteed conviction due to my prior convictions," he said. 

Crane was not swayed by Lucas's testimony and ruled that the court didn't find a compelling reason that Lucas had been misrepresented. 

Lucas can still bring that issue up in his appeal, which he does plan to file.


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