A Prince George's County businessman who won the Congressional Medal of Honor for heroism in World War II was allegedly the target of a murder conspiracy engineered by his wife, daughter and son-in-law, Maryland State Police charged yesterday.
The three were charged with attempting to hire a man - who turned out to be an undercover state policeman - to kill Jacklyn H. Lucas, 48, of 9408 Juliette Dr., in Clinton.
Lucas, the owner of Lucas Beef Retail Packing Co. in Suitland, received the nation's highest honor for bravery in 1945 when he saved the lives of fellow Marines by throwing himself on top of two exploding grenades at Iwo Jima. He was only 17 at the time.
Police provided few details of the alleged murder conspiracy except to say that the motive was "money."
They charged Erlene Lucas, 38, Becky A. Morgan, 19, and her husband, Jerry R. Morgan, 19, with the conspiracy and with assault with intent to commit murder. The three, all of whom were said to live at the same address in Clinton, were held at the Prince George's County detention center.
Lucas, who was not injured in the alleged attempt on his life, according to state police, had a colorful history leading up to his first and last battle during World War II.
According to newspaper clipping that recorded his heroics in 1945, Lucas joined the Marines at the age of 14 and later stowed away aboard a ship bound for Iwo Jima after he became fed up with light duty at a Pacific supply depot in Hawaii.
It was only six days after his 17th birthday that he found himself in a trench under enemy fire with a rifle that jammed, the newspaper reports indicate.
Then, according to his own account in 1945, ". . . A couple of grenades rolled into the trench.I hollered to my pals to get out and did a superman dive at the grenades."
Lucas was discharged from the Marines for disability after the episode.