LIMA — With a date before a judge and a jury looming in just two weeks, the attorney for Dejuan Lucas on Friday said his client is “eager to have a trial and face his accusers.”
Lucas, 26, is one of two Lima residents charged with involuntary manslaughter in the drug-related death in May of last year of Dino Gerdeman, 59, of Lima.
Gerdeman’s body was found shortly after midnight on May 27 in Room 252 at the Travelodge Motel, 805 S. Leonard Ave. Police were called to the scene in reference to a disturbance and Detective Brian Snyder of the Lima Police Department said officers found Gerdeman was without vital signs and was “cold to the touch.”
An investigation was launched and several leads were followed, leading to the eventual arrest of Kaelonda Peoples-Fuqua, 19, who was charged with involuntary manslaughter related to Gerdeman’s death, She has pleaded not guilty to the charge and is currently awaiting trial.
Lucas was indicted in October by a grand jury on charges of involuntary manslaughter and corrupting another with drugs and involuntary manslaughter for causing Gerdeman’s death. The charges, felonies of the first- and second-degree, respectively, allege that Lucas did knowingly furnish fentanyl to Gerdeman “with purpose to cause serious physical harm” or to cause him to become drug dependent.
In a separate case Lucas is facing two third-degree felony charges for possession of heroin and possession of a fentanyl-related compound on or about Sept. 14 of last year.
He is slated to stand trial beginning March 1 on the involuntary manslaughter charge.
According to court documents three women in the motel room at the time of Gerdeman’s death were interviewed by police and one said Peoples-Fuqua had given Gerdeman some cocaine.
Peoples-Fuqua reportedly admitted to police that she had set up a party at the motel for Gerdeman’s birthday. She also admitted purchasing drugs and furnishing them to the victim, court documents show.
Peoples-Fuqua’s attorney has described his client as an employee of Gerdeman’s. According to Attorney Kenneth Rexford, she “was instructed to do multiple tasks” for Gerdeman, including the procurement of drugs.