Deliberations will continue next week in retrial of mother accused of killing 6 children in fire in 1992

Jurors will continue deliberations next week in the trial of a woman accused of intentionally setting a fire to her East Baltimore home 25 years ago, killing her six children.

The case was sent to the panel on Monday in the trial of Tonya Lucas, 54, who was previously convicted in 1993 of six counts of first-degree felony murder and was serving six consecutive life terms. But that conviction was overturned in December 2015 due to discredited arson investigation methods.

During a four-week retrial, prosecutors again sought to show jurors that Lucas intentionally set fire to her East Baltimore home, in the 2400 block of E. Eager St., in hopes of receiving rental assistance from the Red Cross. They also allege she set the fire to cover up her abuse of her 2-year-old son, Gregory Cook, who weighed just 10 pounds.

But Lucas’ attorneys have argued the state’s case was weak because prosecutors did not back up the alleged motive that she burned the house to receive assistance. They said their client was receiving other government assistance to support her family, and did not need help from the Red Cross.

Lucas’ conviction was overturned over concerns to the fire science involved in the case. Her attorneys have said the original investigators did not consider all possible accidental causes.

The case is being tried before Circuit Court Judge Marcus Shar.

jkanderson@baltsun.com

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