Murder Defendant Wants To Represent Himself

HOT SPRINGS, S.D. (AP) – The man charged with killing an escapee from the Rapid City Community Work Center in 2017 in Fall River County wants to act as his own attorney.

29-year-old Thomas Lucero has dismissed 2 court-appointed attorneys is currently trying to get ride of attorney Paul Winter, who is serving as his legal advisor. He has to decide later this month if he will represent himself alone at trial or proceed with Winter’s help.

Lucero is currently in prison, serving a 12-year sentence for a first-degree robbery in Minnehaha County. He participated in a hearing in Rapid City yesterday via video feed from Sioux Falls that he’s had a lack of communication from Winter and that the state hasn’t provided evidence he requested.

A Fall River County grand jury indicted Lucero in Sept 2017 on alternate counts of 1st-degree and 2nd-degree murder for allegedly shooting 32-year old Moses Dubray in the head on Jan. 11, 2017.

Dubray was serving a 10-year sentence for burglary from Bennett County when he walked away from the work center. His body was found the next day near Hwy 89.

Lucero was also indicted on an aggravated assault charge for using a gun to assault an individual the same day Dubray was killed, but the victim’s identity was not included because they are a confidential informant who testified before the grand jury.

Lucero, who was on parole at the time of the murder and assault, turned himself in later that month in response to a warrant issued against him for being a parole absconder.

Prosecutor and assistant attorney general Scott Roetzel says it’s “highly unique” for a murder defendant to represent himself; in fact, it’s the first time he’s heard of in his 28 years as an attorney in South Dakota.

Lucero says the 2 attorneys he dismissed were prejudiced against him because he’s Hispanic, and that everyone is colluding against him to censor him and force him to use an attorney.

His trial is scheduled for April 27-May 5 in Hot Springs, with another motion hearing set for two weeks from Friday on the 21st and a pre-trial conference on April 14. One of Lucero’s motions is to delay the trial for a year so he has more time to prepare.

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