Family friend suspected in triple homicide of pastor and her grandsons

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- A family friend is suspected in a weekend triple homicide that killed a pastor and her two grandsons, Sacramento police said Tuesday.

Jerod Michael Watson, 52, was in a relationship with Twanna Lucas, who returned home Saturday to find her mother and adult sons dead in a housing complex in south Sacramento, police spokesman Sgt. Bryce Heinlein said.

The Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office issued a felony warrant charging him with homicide. Police said he is armed and considered extremely dangerous, and he may have fled the state.

Heinlein couldn’t say how investigators linked him to the slayings of Christine Lucas, 68, Marquise Brown, 23, and James Ferrell, 20.

But he said Watson was in a relationship with the boys’ mother, who ran to a nearby fire station to alert authorities when she arrived home to find them dead just before 8 p.m. Saturday. Watson was frequently at the home, he said, though it was not clear if he lived there full time.

“I’m not going to go into specifics as to why we think it happened,” Heinlein said. “We don’t have a motive to go out with yet.”

Watson previously faced two charges of misdemeanor domestic violence, though one was dismissed in 2009, Sacramento County Superior Court online records show.

He was sentenced to jail three times between 2009 and 2011 on the other charge, including for repeatedly violating his probation. He attended a batterer’s treatment program required by the court, and that conviction was expunged in 2012 after he completed his probation.

Lucas had multiple stab wounds, and one of her grandsons was fatally slashed, he said, citing coroner’s findings. The autopsy hasn’t been completed on the other man, he said.

Lucas served as a pastor at Gloryland Revival Center International Ministries with her husband, John Lucas, according to the affiliated Faith Ministries International Network’s website. 

The community is shocked at their deaths, and many people say the pastor was a huge influence on the community, reports CBS Sacramento

Pastor Christine Lucas was found murdered Saturday night with her two adult grandsons. CBS Sacramento

Memories came flooding into Sascha Vogt’s mind when she visited the home where she first met Pastor Christine Lucas.

“I can just picture her and see her standing right next to that rose bush,” Vogt said.

Vogt says Pastor Lucas was working for Sacramento County’s Head Start program when she met her.

“She worked with me from the time I was pregnant, that was a time in my life when I was trying to get some structure into my household,” said Vogt.

Vogt was living with an abusive man who used to beat her children until Pastor Lucas stepped in.

“She was just always a shoulder to cry on, someone to help me see the bright side and to stay committed.”

Diane Lestrick is a close family-friend of the Lucas family. She says Pastor Lucas was like a mother to her, and a rock for the community.

“She touched my life in a great way, during the time I was going through things, it was that wisdom that helped me know that I can make it and that I can stand up,” Lestrick said.

Denzel Williams grew up with Marquise, one of the pastor’s grandsons, and a victim of Saturday night’s triple homicide.

“If he was down for you, he was down for you and he loved you. He was always full of joy,” Williams said.

Grieving family members did not want to speak to CBS13 on camera Monday, but said James had just graduated in the spring from Heritage Peak Charter School in Sacramento.

Marquise was working for the Conservation Corps and was a father to a little girl.

Vogt now works for Yolo County’s Head Start program to help mothers and their families, the same way Pastor Lucas helped her family.

“That was the kind of inspiration Miss Tina had on people. My work I do every day, I honor Miss Tina.”

Sacramento police are still searching for a suspect in the homicide;

According to the Sacramento County Coroner’s Office, an autopsy may be scheduled for the victims on Tuesday, to determine how and when they died.