Supreme Court acquits Lucas
Published 11:29 am Wednesday, November 22, 2000
By By JOHN WALLACE
For the second time this year the Alabama Supreme Court ruled to overturn the murder conviction of a Brewton woman in connection with the death of her two-year-old son.
Leigh Ann Lucas' capital murder conviction was overturned on Friday by a 6-3 vote. The decision acquitted the life-without-parole sentence handed down by an Escambia County jury and upheld by the Court of Criminal Appeals in connection with the May 30, 1997 death of her son, Brandon Austin Lee Steele.
The Alabama Supreme Court originally overturned the conviction in July, but reheard the case after Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor's office submitted a request for the case to be re-examined.
Michael Godwin, District Attorney for the 21st Judicial Circuit, said he was shocked Monday afternoon when he found out the Supreme Court Justices overturned Lucas' conviction.
He said the justices retried the case and reinterpreted the evidence rather than looking at the jury's decision.
The Supreme Court's decision is final and Godwin said Lucas cannot be retried for the same crime.
Godwin said at the time of the autopsy medical examiners discovered broken bones that had healed without medical care and other bruises that led them to believe the child had been beaten.
The reason given by the Supreme Court for overturning the conviction is that the prosecution failed to prove that the child would have lived had he received treatment for an injury that resulted in his death.