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Alleged Dead Man Inc. gang member indicted in 2008 murder-for-hire

A federal grand jury has indicted an alleged Dead Man Inc. gang member in the 2008 murder-for-hire of a court witness, a crime for which an innocent man spent five years in prison.

The charges against Troy Allen Lucas, 47, also known as Troy Madron, come three years after Demetrius Smith was exonerated in the killing of Robert Long in Southwest Baltimore.

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Prosecutors said Lucas was solicited to commit the crime by Jose Morales, who was convicted by a federal jury in 2013 of having arranged the killing. Long had been Morales' co-defendant in a construction theft case in Baltimore Circuit Court, and Morales learned he was cooperating with police.

Lucas was identified at Morales' trial as the killer, but charges were not filed until this month and Lucas was arrested Tuesday. If convicted, he could be sentenced to life in prison.

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"Federal prosecutors have been working on this investigation since 2008, and we will stick with it until everyone actually responsible for the murder has been held accountable," Rod J. Rosenstein, the U.S. attorney for Maryland, said Tuesday. "We make sure to dot every 'i' and cross every 't' before filing a murder charge."

Lucas did not have an attorney listed in court records.

Long was shot twice in the head in Traci Atkins Park on March 24, 2008. A Baltimore jury convicted Smith in the killing, and he was sentenced to life in prison in 2010. City prosecutors alleged that Long had stolen a drug stash from Smith.

But federal authorities learned that Morales, three weeks after the killing, had told his attorney, Stanley Needleman, that he had had Long killed. Morales told Needleman he paid Dead Man Inc., a prison and street gang, $20,000 to carry out the killing.

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Morales was arrested in Texas in 2008 with a large shipment of cocaine, and when taken into custody claimed that Needleman had arranged the killing, prosecutors said. Morales also identified "Troy" as the killer, and said Lucas had called him a few minutes after the murder and offered details.

Morales was providing the information in an attempt to cut his sentence in the Texas drug case, but investigators came to believe he was behind the killing. Needleman cooperated after he came under investigation for tax evasion.

Federal prosecutors shared their concerns about Smith's conviction in 2011, and he was exonerated in 2013.

Morales was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of arranging the contract killing.

The charges against Lucas are not the only recent development in the Long case. Last week, a Dead Man Inc. member pleaded guilty to the prison beating of a witness in the case, who was attacked with a sock filled with batteries and dominoes.

Anthony Alascio called the victim a "snitch," and in a letter written later called the victim a "rat" and said he had "told on my peoples, so he got what he deserved."

An earlier version misstated the name of Jose Morales. The Sun regrets the error.

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