Daniel Anthony Lucas was the latest person on death row in Georgia to face execution. He died on Wednesday night, after a late request filed by his attorneys to halt the execution was denied.
New York Daily News reports that Lucas, 37, died by barbiturate pentobarbital injection at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification prison at 9:45 p.m., in Jackson. After his attorneys requested a halt of execution, the U.S. Supreme Court gave no explanation why the request was denied. Lucas was the 5th person executed in Georgia this year alone.
According to the appeal, Lucas’ attorneys argued that the jury who convicted him of the 1998 killings of three people didn’t hear the details of the inmate’s sordid childhood, which included family violence and drug and alcohol abuse. They also argued that Lucas’ age at the time of the crime should keep him from being executed. The following is according to his lawyers.
“Science has confirmed that adolescents do not magically become ‘adults’ once they turn 18. Rather, they continue to be vulnerable to peer pressure and risk-taking behavior just like people under 18 years.”
Lucas was 18 when he broke into a home in Gray, Georgia, looking for valuables, drugs, and cash. Along with fellow inmate Brandon Rhode, also 18 at the time, Lucas began ransacking the house when 11-year-old Brian Moss arrived home from school. The young boy spotted the intruders and armed himself with a baseball bat, but Lucas, carrying a gun, shot and wounded Brian.
Brian’s older sister, 15-year-old Kristin Moss, was getting off of a school bus in front of the home when Lucas and Rhode spotted her. They grabbed her when she came in through the front door, tied her to a chair, and shot her two times with a pistol, fatally wounding her. They turned their attention to Brian once again and shot him again, a shot that resulted in a fatal wound.
A short while later, the children’s father, 37-year-old Steven Moss, arrived home. He was immediately shot and killed. Lucas then shot all three bodies several more times to ensure they were dead. Gerri Ann Moss, the children’s mother, arrived home to find her family dead. Both Lucas and Rhode had already left the home when she arrived.
Two days later, both suspects were arrested and both confessed to the crime. Rhode, convicted of the murders as well, died by lethal injection at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification prison in September, 2015.
Shortly before dying, Lucas offered his apologies to the Moss family and expressed remorse for his actions. He also added that he thought all people are “basically good” before saying a silent prayer to himself.
“I would like to say I’m sorry to Mrs. Moss and the family. All beings are basically good. All beings are basically kind. All beings are basically strong. All beings are basically wise.”
According to Warden Bruce Chatman, Lucas lifted his head briefly during the injection, and appeared to look directly at a woman seated in the second row of chairs in the witness area. He then put his head back down and died within a couple of minutes.
The death of Daniel Anthony Lucas matches the number of deaths carried out via court-ordered executions in Georgia last year. The last time the death count for court-ordered executions in the state were so high occurred in 1987, a little over 10 years from the date Georgia reinstated the death penalty.
[Photo by Georgia Department of Corrections/Getty Images]