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Southwest Baltimore man convicted in murder-for-hire plot from 2008

A 49-year-old man from Southwest Baltimore, described by prosecutors as a gang hitman, was found guilty Tuesday of killing a witness nine years ago in a murder-for-hire plot.

Troy Allen Lucas was convicted by a federal jury in Baltimore and faces life in prison. He was paid in cash and cocaine to execute the witness, Robert Long, prosecutors said. They said Lucas shot Long twice in the head in March 2008 behind Traci Atkins Park in Southwest Baltimore.

Long was killed because he had agreed to testify against Jose Morales, his employer at a construction company and co-defendent in a state theft case. Morales hired Lucas for the killing, prosecutors said.

Morales was sentenced in federal court in 2013 to life in prison.

While investigating the killing, Baltimore police arrested Demetrius Smith on the theory that he and Long had argued over drugs. Two witnesses said they saw him shoot Long, and Smith was wrongly convicted. Federal investigators stepped in and Smith was released in 2013 after spending five years in prison.

“This investigation is the final chapter in an extended federal investigation resulting in several convictions and the exoneration of an innocent man who was wrongly convicted and sentenced to life in state prison,” said Stephen Schenning, the acting U.S. attorney for Maryland.

Prosecutors said Lucas was a member of the street gang Dead Man Inc., and had a hangman’s noose tattooed around his neck and chest. He is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 3.

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