The Georgia Supreme Court even expressed its displeasure that Lucas’ lawyers filed their appeal a mere 31 hours before the slated hour of death:
“This Court notes that this successive habeas corpus proceeding was not initiated until the day before Lucas’s scheduled execution. Despite this late filing, the Court has fully considered Lucas’s application on the merits,” the judges wrote.
Lucas’ lawyers, however, filed that “last minute” court challenge several months after they’d exhausted the usual capital punishment appeals last fall.
The State Board of Pardons and Paroles rejected his plea for mercy Tuesday, leaving it up to the courts to delay or stop his scheduled lethal injection for the April 1998 murders of Steven Moss and his children, 11-year-old Bryan and 15-year-old Kristin.
Lucas and Brandon Rhode, then 18, were ransacking the Moss house near the Middle Georgia town of Gray when Bryan got home from school. The boy saw Lucas and Rhode through the window, so he armed himself with a baseball bat as he went inside his house. But Lucas and Rhode saw the boy coming, so they had their guns at the ready.
First Lucas shot and wounded Bryan.
When they saw his sister get off the bus and head up the driveway, the men moved Bryan into another room. They grabbed Kristin when she came through the door and tied her to a chair.
They shot Bryan again, killing him. Then they murdered his sister.
Their father, Steven, came home soon after his children were murdered. He was also shot and killed.
Lucas then shot all three several times more to be sure they were dead.
Lucas and Rhode were arrested two days later and both confessed.
Rhode was executed in September 2010.