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By BOB WHITE firstname.lastname@example.org ELIZABETHTOWN — With trials of Danielle Marie Lucas and Antwan LaDale Hayes being consolidated for simultaneous prosecution, defense attorney Ron Hines said he can only hope a jury doesn’t lean toward guilt by association. Lucas’ attorney said having his client tried alongside Hayes, the man police claim brutally beat his client’s son to death, can do nothing but harm the defense of his client. “It certainly won’t help,” Hines said. Hardin Circuit Judge Janet Coleman ruled to consolidate the cases Tuesday afternoon following a competency hearing for Hayes and an hour-long session of arguments for and against consolidation. Hayes was found competent to stand trial. Lucas is the mother of 6-year-old Mar’riel Lucas, who died in August after a beating police say happened while his mother was at work and he was being watched by Hayes, Danielle Lucas’ live-in boyfriend. While allegedly not home at the time of the beating, she, too, has been charged with murder and criminal abuse for allegedly allowing Hayes to abuse Mar’riel and not helping the child when she found him suffering when she did returned from work. “She came home and found him suffering, but then left, taking the only car and phone that could have been used to help her son,” prosecutor Jenohn L. Smith told Coleman in court Tuesday afternoon. Hayes also is charged with murder and criminal abuse. Citing case law from 30 years ago, Smith said having defendants point fingers at each other can justify consolidation of a case and can help weed out untruths from testimony. Prior to Smith’s statements, Hayes’ attorney, Kristen Pollock, argued against defendants being “pitted against one another” and “antagonistic defenses.” Hines simply said his client could not have a fair trial if prosecuted alongside Hayes. He also said newspaper reports would taint a jury and not provide for a fair jury pool in his client’s trial. At one time during the consolidation hearing, both defense attorneys, the judge and the prosecutor reviewed The News-Enterprise in search of information included in articles which Hines described as undisclosed and not of public record. Smith said the articles didn’t include any privileged information from closed documents contained only in case discovery. Coleman said arguments made by Hines and Pollock did not convince her to reject Smith’s motion to consolidate the cases. The trial is set for Aug. 6. Consolidated for trial earlier this year also were the cases against accused killers James Benjamin Bryant and Ray’mon Ja’Kee Rogers. The two men are charged in the Elizabethtown shooting death of a Jeffersonville, Ind., teen and the severe beating of another. That trial is slated to begin in September. Bob White can be reached at (270) 505-1750.