North Knoxville man beaten to death, neighbors on edge

By: Kate Burgess Email
By: Kate Burgess Email

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT)-- People on Morelia Avenue are on edge after police found Richard "Rick" Lucas locked inside a shed outside his home on Morelia Avenue.

Knoxville police said he was beaten and thrown into a storage container while he was still alive.

People in the area told us Rick Lucas was a great guy and he always kept an eye out on the neighborhood.

"He spoke to everyone. He was just a nice guy. If you were just walking past, he would speak to you," Neighbor Nathan Brown said.

He added Lucas was always ready to protect the neighborhood. When his kids played outside, Lucas would watch them.

"He would see them out, and make sure they didn't get into the street or anything. And if they were crossing the street, he'd stop the cars to make sure the kids could get their balls," Brown said.

Lucas worked as a roofer. His longtime boss didn't want to go on camera but told us Lucas was a trustworthy employee for more than 20 years. Knoxville police spokesman Darrell Debusk said Lucas knew the suspects, Kimberly Sutton and Joseph Underwood.

"They had contact with each other. The knew each other, and had contact with each other prior to the events that unfolded on the 14th," Debusk said.

Both have criminal records. Charges ranging from theft to prostitution to drug possession. Brown is shocked they were hanging around right next door.

"To get that type of information...Yes it was very traumatic," said Brown.

Now, he told us, it might be time to start up a neighborhood watch.

Both Sutton and Underwood are charged with murder and theft. Underwood is also charged with kidnapping. Both are being held on $1,000,000 bail.

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