Man faces life sentence with ‘third strike’ over drive-by shooting
A Spokane man faces life in prison under the state’s “three-strikes” law after a jury convicted him in connection with a July 2009 shooting that injured two women.
Jurors were split on attempted murder and first-degree assault charges against Timothy “Stoney Boy” Lucious by Spokane County prosecutors, citing questions over whether another man may have fired shots at the women.
But the jury foreman said all 12 believed Lucious had banged on the car window and threatened the women with a gun, justifying a second-degree assault conviction.
Superior Court Judge Annette Plese ordered Lucious, 39, held without bail until sentencing on Oct. 14.
Described as a gang member by Spokane police, Lucious already has convictions for two violent crimes. Under state law, Thursday’s conviction earns him a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Public defender Steven Reich said prosecutors “grossly overcharged” Lucious and said while he’s pleased jurors wouldn’t convict on the murder charges, the outcome is the same for Lucious under the three-strikes law.
“I have a real problem with the three-strikes law,” Reich said. “It takes discretion away from judges.”
Deputy Prosecutor Mark Cipolla said he was pleased with the verdict.
“The jury did its job,” he said.
After a three-day trial and about six hours of jury deliberation, Lucious was convicted of six counts of second-degree assault and one count of drive-by shooting for a July 24, 2009, incident that injured two women after a wild fight that started at a north Spokane bar.
Cipolla had charged Lucious with six counts of first-degree attempted murder, alleging he planned to kill the women when he fired several rounds at their car, striking a woman they’d accidentally left behind.
But the six women didn’t tell police that another man, Antonio E. Cook Jr., 29, was present during the shooting. Officials didn’t learn of Cook’s presence until a couple months ago, Reich said.
In closing arguments Tuesday, Reich suggested Cook fired the shots that injured Donna M. Dansby and Zsaja Branch, the mother of Cook’s child. The woman testified that Cook fled the scene because his probation prohibited him from being outside after 10 p.m.
Although most witnesses said Cook did not have a gun, one said he did, and Reich said it was likely the others were lying to protect Cook.
But Cipolla said the facts of the case speak for themselves. Each woman identified Lucious through a photo montage, and each described separate contacts with him that night.
“This man right here used a gun on a car full of women for no apparent reason,” Cipolla said.
A co-defendant, Michael R. Gardner, pleaded guilty to third-degree assault in January and was credited for time served.
According to court testimony, Gardner and Lucious were near Seventh Avenue and Newark Street when the women arrived to brawl with a group they’d been fighting with that night.
Gardner punched one of the women, but all identified Lucious as the man who fired several rounds at them from a 9 mm, striking Branch in the chest. Dansby was injured in her left arm.
Lucious also was convicted of assaulting Marquetta M. Scales, Summer R. Abrahamson, Amber C. Branch and Ebony V. Branch.
Lucious’ criminal history includes convictions for riot, second-degree assault, resisting arrest, and conspiracy to deliver a controlled substance.