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By BOB WHITE
ELIZABETHTOWN — Few trials during the past two years in Hardin County have drawn as many curious onlookers into the courtroom gallery as the trial of Danielle Lucas and her boyfriend Antwan Hayes. The two are charged with murder and criminal abuse stemming from the Aug. 29, 2007, beating death of Lucas’ son, Mar’riel.
At one point on Monday morning, more than two dozen people were watching the trial to hear testimony themselves.
Several of the onlookers included workers from the Hardin County office of Kentucky’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services. The agency was criticized during the trial because of an investigation which produced no substantiated findings against Antwan Hayes in May 2007, before Mar’riel died.
Most of those CHFS employees stayed even after workers subpoenaed to testify completed their roles in the trial.
Onlookers included other local prosecutors including Commonwealth’s Attorney Chris Shaw, who watched the work of prosecutor LeShea Smith of his office, and First Assistant Hardin County Attorney Jenny Pitts.
Defense attorneys and others from the courthouse crowd continue to stop in during the trial to see the much-talked-about proceedings for themselves.
Police, 911 staff and Lucas family members also watched the case from within the courtroom gallery and paternal relatives, such as the deceased child’s father, Leslie Lawrence, and grandmother, Carolyn Carpenter, who waited outside the courtroom with Lucas’ father during testimony.
The trial continues today in Senior Judge Janet Coleman’s courtroom on the second floor of the Hardin County Justice Center.
Bob White can be reached at (270) 505-1750.