- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 30, 2001

The homeless tree trimmer accused of killing a popular Germantown, Md., priest is expected to take the stand in his own defense today.
Robert Paul Lucas is likely to be the most pivotal witness the defense presents, as his public defenders try to win an acquittal on a murder charge. Lucas is accused of killing Monsignor Thomas Wells in June in the rectory of the Mother Seton Roman Catholic Church. The priests body was found in the bedroom of his residence.
Two bloodstain experts testified yesterday as prosecutors rested and the defense began in the case.
"Weve put the defendant there as far as DNA evidence, bloody boot and footprints found on the scene, as well as taxicab records," said Montgomery County States Attorney Douglas Gansler.
The most graphic testimony came from the prosecutions bloodstain-pattern expert, William Vosburgh, the acting director of Prince Georges Countys forensic services.
Mr. Vosburgh testified that Monsignor Wells was standing at some point during the attack, but later was likely on his hands and knees or crawling.
Jurors saw photos of the bloodstained crime scene, showing a ransacked rectory bedroom, with blood smeared on furniture and a closet door and soaked into carpet.
Lucas bowed his head as the pictures were shown.
Mr. Vosburgh testified that Monsignor Wells blood-soaked underwear was thrown against the closet door, leaving an imprint.
Mr. Gansler maintained that Lucas took off Monsignor Wells briefs and flung them.
Mr. Gansler also said Lucas moved the body three times after the attack and wrote an obscenity on a dry eraser board.
"That was his parting shot," Mr. Gansler said.
A fingerprint and boot-print expert also testified that bloody boot prints found in the rectory were a match to Lucas.
The defenses bloodstain-pattern expert, Paul Kish, testified that a forensic expert could not give an exact play-by-play of Monsignor Wells final moments by looking at bloodstains.
Two jail guards also testified about Lucas behavior after he was jailed for the crime in June at the Montgomery County corrections center.
Keith McConnell said Lucas was upset that he had not gotten his medications and threatened the guards.
"Lucas said, 'If they keep messing with me, Ill stick them like I stuck the priest," Mr. McConnell testified.
But Carlo Antognozzi testified that Lucas was on a suicide watch after his arrest and said he did not notice any violent behavior or threats.
The defense contends a drunken Lucas flew into a fit of rage after Monsignor Wells made unwanted sexual advances.
Backed by Monsignor Wells two sisters and a brother, a longtime friend of the priest's, Patricia Brady, called those accusations "inherently evil."
"Monsignor Thomas Wells was a good, holy priest," she said. "In no way shape or form did anything the defense said happened happen."
Defense attorney Brian Shefferman said he would most likely call Lucas to the stand when he continues his case today.
Closing arguments are scheduled for tomorrow.


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