AP NEWS

Murder defendant in Fall River County to represent himself

February 4, 2020 GMT

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — A defendant facing a murder charge in Fall River County has decided to represent himself after dismissing two lawyers.

Thomas Lucero, 29, was indicted by a grand jury in September 2017 on a first-degree or alternate second-degree murder charge.

He’s accused of fatally shooting Moses Dubray in the head in January 2017. Dubray was found dead near state Highway 89 after walking away from the Rapid City Community Work Center the previous day.

Lucero is currently serving a 12-year sentence for a first-degree robbery in Minnehaha County.

Assistant Attorney General Scott Roetzel tells the Rapid City Journal it’s “highly unique” for a murder defendant to proceed without a defense lawyer.

Roetzel said this is the first time he’s heard of this happening in the 28 years he’s worked in South Dakota.

“I humbly believe that I do not have any other choice” because the previous lawyers did not provide effective assistance and were racially prejudiced, Lucero wrote in his motion to proceed without an attorney. Lucero is Hispanic, according to the Department of Corrections website.