Tuesday, 12 January 2016

139.Michael HUGHES

Classification: Serial killer
Characteristics: Rape
Number of victims: 4 - 8
Date of murders: 1986 - 1993
Date of arrest: December 1993
Date of birth: 1957
Victims profile: Yvonne Coleman, 15 / Verna Williams, 15 / Deanna Wilson, 30 / Teresa Ballard, 16 / Brenda Bradley, 38 / Deborah Jackson, 32 / Terri Myles, 33 / Jamie Harrington, 29
Method of murder: Strangulation
Location: Los Angeles County, California, USA
Status: Sentenced to life in prison without parole in 1998

Michael Hughes is an American serial killer convicted and sentenced to life without parole for the murders of four women in California between 1992 and 1993. In July 2008, he was charged with the sexual assault and murders of four additional women.
1990s
In December 1993, Hughes, a security guard, was arrested in Culver City. In 1998, he was convicted and given a life sentence without parole for the strangling murders of Teresa Ballard, Brenda Bradley, Terri Myles and Jamie Harrington.
Ballard, 26, was found in Los Angeles' Jesse Owens County Park on September 23, 1992. The other victims were found dumped in alleys in a Culver City commercial area: 38-year-old Bradley; Myles, 33, found on November 8, 1993; and Harrington, 29, found on November 14, 1993.
2008
On July 3, 2008, Hughes was charged with sexually assaulting and strangling two women and two teenage girls in the Los Angeles area between 1986 and 1993, after homicide detectives linked him to DNA samples from the victims using new forensic technologies.
At least one of his victims, Verna Williams, was considered to be a victim of the prolific, still unidentified serial killer known as the Southside Slayer. Prosecutors allege Hughes killed 15-year-old Yvonne Coleman on January 22, 1986. Her body was found in a park in Inglewood, California. The other three were killed in Los Angeles. Verna Williams, 15, was discovered in a stairwell on May 26, 1986. Deanna Wilson, 30, was found in a garage on August 30, 1990. Deborah Jackson, 32, was found on June 25, 1993.
As of 2008, detectives are investigating Hughes' possible involvement in other killings around the U.S. While Hughes was in the navy he spent time in Michigan, San Diego and Long Beach.

Convict appears in court in cold-case killings
By Thomas Watkins - Associated Press
July 3, 2008
A serial killer serving a life term for killing four women returned to court Thursday to face charges of committing four additional murders in a spree starting more than two decades ago.
Michael Hughes, 51, is charged with sexually assaulting and strangling two women and two teenage girls in the Los Angeles area between 1986 and 1993. Homicide detectives linked him to the killings after new forensic technologies matched his DNA to samples taken from the victims, police said.
Hughes did not enter a plea and his arraignment was rescheduled for Aug. 6. He had not been assigned a public defender.
Hughes is serving life in prison without parole for killing four other women between 1992 and 1993. He had been serving his sentence at Kern Valley State Prison but has been transferred to the Los Angeles County jail system while he faces the new charges.
Prosecutors have not determined whether they will seek the death penalty, said Los Angeles County district attorney's spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons.
Hughes is accused of killing 15-year-old Yvonne Coleman on Jan. 22, 1986, after she left her boyfriend's home. Her body was found in an Inglewood park. The other three were killed in Los Angeles. They were Verna Williams, 15, whose body was discovered in a stairwell May 26, 1986; Deanna Wilson, 30, found in a garage Aug. 30, 1990; and Deborah Jackson, 32, whose body was found June 25, 1993.
Homicide Detective Clifford Shepard, one of two main investigators in the case, said the victims died at the height of the crack cocaine epidemic when Los Angeles' murder rate was hitting record highs, peaking in 1992 with more than 1,000 homicides. He said the three victims killed in Los Angeles had cocaine in their systems. Coleman did not.
"It was almost an epidemic of women being found strangled and dumped who had cocaine in their systems," Shepard said. "Some were being secreted, many of them were being found on roadsides or in alleys."
Authorities initially suspected the dozens of strangled female corpses to be the work of one serial killer, dubbed the "south-side slayer." Investigators later found that several killers were responsible, including Chester Turner who last year was convicted and sentenced to death for killing 10 women and a fetus, Shepard said.
Shepard said he is investigating whether Hughes was involved in other slayings. He said victims may be found across the country, since Hughes served in the U.S. Navy and spent time in Michigan, San Diego and Long Beach.
Shepard said he has notified other police agencies in Southern California in case they have similar unsolved cases that could be linked to Hughes.
"We are not sure how many victims there are," Shepard said. "There could be many more out there."
Hughes was arrested by Culver City police in December 1993 and convicted in 1998 of killing Teresa Ballard, Brenda Bradley, Terri Myles and Jamie Harrington.
Hughes appeared before Superior Court Judge Craig Richman to face the latest charges. The judge was called in after Superior Court Commissioner Henry J. Hall recused himself from the case because he had defended Hughes while working as a lawyer.

Convicted serial killer faces more charges
By Thomas Watkins - Associated Press
July 4, 2008
A serial killer serving a life term for killing four women returned to court Thursday to face charges of committing four additional murders in a spree starting more than two decades ago.
Michael Hughes, 51, is charged with sexually assaulting and strangling two women and two teenage girls in the Los Angeles area between 1986 and 1993. Cold-case detectives linked him to the killings after new forensic technologies matched his DNA to samples taken from the victims, authorities said.
Hughes did not enter a plea and his arraignment was continued to Aug. 6. He had not been assigned a public defender.
Hughes is serving life in prison without parole for killing four other women between 1992 and 1993. He had been serving his sentence at Kern Valley State Prison but has been transferred to the Los Angeles County jail system while he faces the new charges.
Prosecutors had not determined whether they will seek the death penalty, said Los Angeles County district attorney's spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons.
Prosecutors said Hughes killed 15-year-old Yvonne Coleman on Jan. 22, 1986. Her body was found in an Inglewood park. The other three were killed in Los Angeles. They were Verna Williams, 15, whose body was discovered in a stairwell May 26, 1986; Deanna Wilson, 30, found in a garage Aug. 30, 1990; and Deborah Jackson, 32, whose body was found June 25, 1993.
He was convicted in 1998 of killing Teresa Ballard, Brenda Bradley, Terri Myles and Jamie Harrington.

Inmate accused of murder in deaths of four women over 7-year span
By Jack Leonard - Los Angeles Times
June 28, 2008
Los Angeles County prosecutors filed murder charges today against a 51-year-old prison inmate, alleging he killed four Los Angeles women between 1986 and 1993.
Michael Hughes, who was convicted of four similar slayings in 1998, is accused of strangling the victims, who ranged in age from 15 to 36, said Los Angeles County Deputy Dist. Atty. Robert Grace. Hughes is serving life in prison without the possibility of parole, he said.
Hughes was identified through a cold-hit DNA match conducted by a team of Los Angeles police detectives assigned to take a fresh look at old unsolved murders, Grace said.
The slayings, he added, bore a close resemblance to those committed by other killers who were in Los Angeles at the time. In the last two years, prosecutors have convicted two other men – Chester Turner and Ivan J. Hill – in similar killing sprees.
“It has similarities to many recent serial murder cases,” Grace said.
Most of the victims’ bodies were dumped outside and found by passers-by, he said. One woman’s body was discovered near a trash container in Los Angeles. Another was found in a playground at a South Los Angeles school.
A third was discovered hidden behind a large, brick BBQ pit in an Inglewood park. The fourth was found by a friend at a South Los Angeles home.
Hughes is a former security guard who targeted women on the streets, often with drug problems, authorities said. Three of the victims he is already convicted of killing were found dumped in alleys in a commercial area of Culver City. They had been choked to death.
Hughes is currently in prison for the deaths of Teresa Ballard, 26, whose partially clothed body was found in Jesse Owens County Park, near Western Avenue and Century Boulevard in Los Angeles, on Sept. 23, 1992; Brenda Bradley, 38, whose partially clothed body was found in an alley near the eastern tip of Culver City in 1986; Terri Myles, 33, whose nude body was found two blocks away on Nov. 8, 1993; and Jamie Harrington, 29, whose clothed body was found nearby on Nov. 14, 1993.
Investigators submitted DNA found on the crime scene in several unsolved homicides and found hits to Hughes’ DNA, officials said.