Jury selection continues Monday, March 19 in the much-delayed trial of David Leroy Lucero Jr., now 33, who is accused of murdering his mother eight years ago, in the home they shared in Valley Center.
Margo Jean Lucero, 53, died of “stab wounds of left shoulder and chest,” according to a medical examiner’s report. She was found deceased in her own bed the afternoon of March 9, 2010. Deputies reported that the door to her bedroom appeared to have been forced open. Her purse and car keys were missing.
Margo Lucero’s car and her son David Leroy Lucero Jr. were found in Arizona the next day. The key to her car reportedly had Margo’s blood on it.
David Lucero Jr. pleads not guilty by reason of insanity. The jury will first deliberate the guilty-or-not-guilty portion of the trial, and if the accused man is found guilty of murder, then the jury will hear evidence in a second trial to determine sane-or-not-sane. The legal definition of sane is not the same as a medical finding.
Members of the defendant’s family, who include his namesake father and brother Marcos and a sister named Ramona, are expected to testify as witnesses during trial.
Father Dr. David M. Lucero is reportedly angry with San Diego County deputies who responded to a call from Margo Lucero, the afternoon before she was found dead. Margo was reportedly afraid of her son David, and asked deputies to take him away at that time. However, there are assertions that David Leroy Lucero Jr. told deputies that, “I need a TRO to get my mom out of my life,” and “my mom is ruining my life,” and “my mom is running my life.”
Prosecutors Patrick Espinoza and Matthew Greco have asserted, in pretrial hearings, that David Lucero Jr., then 25, was aware that his mother and brother were making effort to get him committed to a mental hospital and that David Lucero Jr. wanted to prevent that from happening.
Father Dr. David M. Lucero was out of town the day deputies were called to the home, March 8, 2010, but the senior Lucero arrived home the following afternoon. Dr. Lucero and one of his adult daughters, Ramona, who picked him up at the airport and brought him home, found Margo Lucero deceased that afternoon, on March 9, 2010.
Celebrity attorney Mark Geragos handled the defense in this case for many years, and the defendant was rarely seen in court during that time. When defendant Lucero appeared in court it was often brief, as part of a competency hearing, and then David Lucero Jr. was sent back to Patton Hospital. The defense for trial is now being handled by David Gammill, who has a connection with Geragos & Geragos; that law firm is based out of Los Angeles.
Prosecutors want to use as evidence phone calls between the defendant and his father, these were recorded as recently as last week. These recordings seem to present the defendant as a lucid man who voices regret that his years in custody in mental institutions will not count as “time-and-half custody credit” toward his ultimate sentence, if there is ever a conviction.
Some of the recordings were played in court during pre-trial motions, and father Dr. David M. Lucero is heard voicing bitter disappointment with attorney Mark Geragos, with whom he “wasted three-hundred-thousand dollars;” the elder Lucero also stated “I’m going to tear his ass up in court anyway.”