Family of Sgt. Rod Lucas stands by DA's decision to press manslaughter charges

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Sgt. Rod Lucas was shot to death by another Fresno County Sheriff's Deputy in October of last year. Manslaughter charges have been filed against the other deputy. (KFSN)

The mother of a Fresno County Sheriff's Deputy who was killed in an apparent accidental shooting by another deputy says the family wants justice.

Sgt. Rod Lucas was shot to death by another Fresno County Sheriff's Deputy in October of last year. Manslaughter charges have been filed against the other deputy.

Ruth Areias is Lucas' mother. She says there's debate over whether charges should be filed in what appeared to be an accident. She wanted to make it clear the family supports the district attorney's decision to file manslaughter charges against Jared Mullis, the deputy who's gun discharged killing Lucas.

A shrine of photographs reminds Areias of her late son. The 46-year-old left behind a wife and four children. He was killed last year when a gun held by another deputy discharged.

While it appeared to be an accident, District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp filed manslaughter charges against the other deputy, Jared Mullis, and Areias wants to make her position clear.

"There seems to be a lot of confusion as to where the family stands, and that's why I wanted to make the statement that we stand behind Lisa Smittcamp and the DA and their decision to file charges," she said.

Rod Lucas' father John, who is Ruth's ex-husband, made this statement about the family's opinion of the case two weeks ago.

"The family has no vengeance in our heart whatsoever because that's not going to bring our loved one back. Rod is not going to return. But we do want justice for Rod," he said. "That's all we're asking for."

Ruth won't say if she thinks justice means Mullis should go to jail but did say she does not think he should be allowed to go back to work as a deputy.

"So you think he should not go back on duty?"

"No," she replied.

The attorney representing Mullis, Roger Wilson, says he is hoping Mullis will be exonerated and will get his job back. As to Ruth's comments, he told Action News:

"I appreciate her concern. She has suffered a tragic loss, but I would hope my client could return to work."

Mullis is currently on paid leave of absence, his trial on manslaughter charges for the death of Rod Lucas is scheduled to start in mid-September.

The fact the shooting was an accident has raised questions as to why charges have been filed but Areias says the facts will come out in the trial.

Related Topics:
court caselisa sondergaard smittcampfresno county sheriff departmentfresnoFresno
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