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By BOB WHITE
ELIZABETHTOWN – The murder and criminal abuse trial against Danielle Lucas and her boyfriend, Antwan Hayes, entered it’s ninth day Thursday in Hardin Circuit Court. Police and prosecutors hold both equally responsible for 38 blunt force injuries which ultimately lead to Mar’riel’s death.
Through his questioning Wednesday, Lucas’ attorney Ron Hines painted his client as a mother so busy — so preoccupied with school, friends, a new job and family — she didn’t leave any time for a child. There were tears, photos of Mar’riel,and breaks taken during her testimony to allow her time to regain her composure. At times her expression transformed quickly from tears to composure.
Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney LeShea Smith rested the prosecution’s case Wednesday, but grilled Lucas during cross-examination Thursday. During this round of questioning, Lucas often answered questions with “I don’t remember.”
Information she gave police last year had details on events leading up to the child’s death, including removing the sick boy from school before his death and several hospital visits weeks and months before he died, but she remembered very little Thursday while being cross-examined by Smith.
She said she couldn’t remember if she had told doctors anything the morning Mar’riel died, even though they needed patient history to help the boy.
She said she didn’t recall why or when she’d taken him to a hospital at least three times during the year leading up to his death — or checking him out of school the last Friday of his life.
Lucas said she couldn’t remember how many times she’d found Mar’riel unconscious on the bathroom floor or exactly when in June 2007 she’d gone to court for a truancy hearing — even though it was two days after a Child Protective Service investigator visited her home.
She said she couldn’t remember why the morning college classes she dropped in spring 2007 interfered with her schedule, but said they did.
She admitted she didn’t spend much time with her child and testified to working a double-shift at a new job the Saturday and Sunday before Mar’riel died. He had been removed from school that Friday at the school’s request because he was very ill and vomiting.
Speaking of the night Mar’riel died, Lucas said she thought her son might have been having an asthma attack but decided not to take him to the hospital.
Smith asked who made decisions about going to the hospital and Lucas said “sometimes he (Mar’riel) does.”
“I ask my son all the time if he wants to go to the hospital – that’s just something I ask him,” Lucas said.
Lucas testified to putting the unconscious boy in a cold shower to wake him up — something she’d done more than once when he was merely drowsy.
She admitted that she left her Vista Drive home afterward to be with her sister from 1 to 3 a.m., even though Mar’riel was so sick at midnight that he lost consciousness.
Lucas is being tried for wanton murder and criminal abuse.
There was no cross-examination of Hayes – the man police and prosecutors claim beat Mar’riel.
Evidence presented against Hayes, including a recording played Monday in which Hayes stated he threw Mar’riel the night before he died, was played for jurors.
A further explanation of that statement included Hayes saying he’d been chasing the boy in order to spank him. According to Hayes, he threw Mar’riel on a mattress and the boy fell off the mattress and onto a small alarm clock that laid on the floor.
After the Commonwealth’s case closed Wednesday, Hayes’ attorneys, Department for Public Advocacy attorneys appointed to him by a judge, offered no counter argument.
Kristin Pollock and Shelia Kyle-Reno said Smith fell far from proving Hayes abused and murdered Mar’riel.
Bob White can be reached at (270) 505-1750.