Kimberly Lucas Case: Judge removes death penalty temporarily; delays decision on police testimony

Posted at 6:34 PM, Dec 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-21 18:51:10-05

Kimberly Lucas will stand trial next month for the drowning death of her partner's two year old daughter Elliana Jamason.

A judge decided Wednesday if the jury convicts Lucas -- they will not rule whether she should be put to death.

But another major choice loomed before a Palm Beach County judge. 
At stake - whether to allow a statement investigators got from Lucas shortly after the alleged 2014 murder. 
During this hearing, several members of the Jupiter police department and even Lucas' mother took the stand. 
One detective told the judge Lucas' statement was recorded without her knowledge on the ride from Jupiter medical center over to the county jail. 
It's a ride that's normally 30 minutes that the detective admitted took two hours. 
Lucas attorneys claim law enforcement was instructed by her then attorneys not to question her. 
Her attorneys also believe Lucas wasn't told what she was being arrested for, or why her mom hired an attorney. 
The prosecution, meanwhile, argued police had every right to interrogate Lucas on the way to jail and that her statement wasn't forced.  
The mother of the two year old victim, Jacquelyn Jamason, agreed. 
"I believe that they read her her Miranda rights, and she knew what her rights were at that time," Jamason says. 
With that decision still pending, the judge took action on another issue, removing the death penalty from the jury’s consideration. 
The state’s death penalty is currently under review by the courts – and will likely be revamped when lawmakers reconvene in January.   

The judge ruled a second jury would be called to make that decision if the law does change.   
"Now they're saying we will move forward with the trial, but the prosecution will appeal," Jamason says. "So the possibility it will moved back again is real."

"It's hard. It's Christmas, I don't have my daughter, my son doesn't have his sister, and we have no resolution.

Both sides will be back in the courtroom on January 9th at 9:30, where the judge will determine if the statement from Lucas will be allowed.