COURTROOM BLOG: Judge Hands Hughes Two 99 Year Sentences - KAUZ-TV: Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

COURTROOM BLOG: Judge Hands Hughes Two 99 Year Sentences

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Jimmy Hughes has been handed down 99 years on each count of aggravated sexual assault of a child. The sentences are stacked, meaning he would not be eligible for parole for 30 years on the first count, and then another 30 years on the second count. It took jurors three hours to deliberate in the penalty phase of the trial.

The jury reached a verdict in the trial against Jimmy Hughes in about 90 minutes. They found him guilty on two counts of sexual assault of a child.

When the verdict was ready, Hughes' mother shook her head. When the decision was read, she put her hands on her face and sobbed. Outside the courtroom, you could hear her say, "my baby, my baby."

Closing arguments began at 8:30 Friday morning. The alleged victim and her family were in court. It's the first time the alleged victim had been in court since she testified Tuesday.

Hughes looked down at his hands as the judge read the charges and the law. He faced two counts of felony aggravated sexual assault in Wichita County. Hughes' mom is also in court. The courtroom is the busiest its been since the trial began.

In the prosecution's closing argument, he went through the credibility of each witness.

The judge told the jury, "Your sole duty is to determine guilt or innocence of the defendant."

The prosecution used a power point presentation titled "Some of the many reasons Jimmy Hughes has zero credibility."

Yesterday's exchange from the prosecutor to Jimmy Hughes, "The lies just flow out of you don't they?" "Yes," Hughes replied. The prosecutor outlined the 'many lies of Jimmy Hughes.'

The prosecutor finished closing arguments with a message supported by his power point. "Who drives way down a country road in the early morning hours in an isolated place? A rapist."

The defense told the jury in his closing arguments, "I can't say you are innocent of everything, but you are not guilty."

The defense closed by talking about the timeline Hughes laid out while on the stand. The defense tried to paint the alleged victim as a liar. The alleged victim was stone faced during the arguments. The defense told the jury, "She can't tell the truth. She told you Jimmy is not an angry person."

The defense told the court, "Jimmy is a person with integrity."

As the defense attorney attempted to discredit the alleged victim, she crossed her arms in front of her chest. The defense wrapped its closing arguments saying, "Jimmy Hughes is free. He told the truth."

The victim's mom walked out of court.

Hughes' friend, Kaycee Butcher, who testified in his defense Thursday, left the courtroom crying.

Hughes' mom also walked out of the courtroom for the prosecution's rebuttal.

The prosecutor told the jury, "It was a very brutal assault and brutal rape. There is no doubt about that." The prosecutor pointed to Hughes. "We know there are evil people in this world and this defendant is one of them."

The jury nodded their heads along with the prosecutor.

The mother of the alleged victim walked back in court and put her arm around her daughter.

The prosecutor said, "Jimmy Hughes is a power rapist." The prosecution told the court the alleged victim had no reason to lie. "Jimmy Hughes tries to climb out of the ceiling at the jail last Thursday because he didn't want to face you people," the prosecutor said.

"He sounded pretty good on the stand with all his lies. You people are the only thing that's standing between the freedom he so desperately wants," the prosecutor told the jury.

Hughes' mom returned to the courtroom, sobbing.

The jury began deliberating Hughes' fate at 10:30 Friday morning.

Newschannel 6 Mary Moloney spoke with Hughes' mother after the jury was handed the case. She said they are "happy with the way things turned out today."

Thursday, Jimmy Hughes took the stand in his own defense. 22 year old Hughes, one of the 4 men who escaped from the jail annex last Thursday, is standing trial for aggravated sexual assault of a child. Hughes is very soft spoken. He's been asked multiple times to speak louder.

Hughes told the jury that everyone who was at the party on the night of the alleged assault was high on Xanex, marijuana and alcohol. Hughes says he and the alleged victim were flirting that night and thought "something was going to happen between them." Hearing this, the alleged victim's family was visibly upset in court. They have not been in court since Tuesday, when the alleged victim took the stand. Hughes told the jury he and the alleged victim had sex in the house and that it was consensual. The mother of the victim started sobbing and got up to leave the courtroom.

Hughes told the jury that after the sexual relations, the alleged victim wondered, "What are we?" When Hughes didn't answer, he said the girl got upset and "gauged" him in the eye. He said that as his eyes were teary, he punched the girl in the face multiple times. At one point, Hughes told the jury, "It was a nightmare from the moment I hit her."

He also told the jury he had to take the alleged victim home on the night of the alleged assault because it was "the responsible thing to do."

One of the defense's angles is about location, saying this case should not be tried in the 30th District Court. Hughes has been asked to draw diagrams of the house and his trip home that night for the jury.

Hughes said that on the way to drop off the girl, he had to stop to fill up his car with gas and oil. Most of the witnesses spoke about Hughes' car having an oil leak, saying he couldn't go too far without leaking oil. Hughes then said that the alleged victim didn't feel well and wanted to pull over. He claims that he asked her if she was ok, and that after lying on the ground to "get some air", the girl got back into his car. He then said he dropped her off near her home.

Hughes said that he then went to the Wayfarer hotel, where his mother and younger brother were staying. He said that he didn't take a shower or clean his car, because he was too tired. Some time passed when Hughes received a phone call from the victim's brother, accusing Hughes of rape. The victim's brother eventually went to the motel to confront Hughes. At that time, Hughes says he called police to tell them he was assaulted by someone who was accusing him of rape.

While on the stand Hughes also talked about his first interview with police. "I lied to them," he told the jury. Hughes said he knew about the rape accusations, and says "to show the fact that I did not rape her, I gave them a swab. I wanted to cooperate." Hughes also told the jury he lied in his second interview with Sheriff Kenny Lemons.

During the trial, Hughes looked at pictures of the alleged victim's injuries, saying he felt "shame for doing that to her." At that point one of the alleged victim's family members started crying.

Also on Thursday, the defense called the first officer to respond to the sexual assault allegations. The officer explained the timeline of the phone calls the alleged victim's parent's made to the police.

The defense also called Hughes' mom. She testified that Hughes did not shower and his clothes were not bloodied on the night he came home after the alleged assault. She lovingly looked at her son as she left the courtroom.

Kaycee Butcher was another witness for the defense. She is a long time friend of Hughes and as she approached the bench, mouthed to Hughes "I love you." Hughes smiled, and told the girl, "Hi, I love you too."

The prosecution was quick to try and discredit Hughes' testimony. In the opening line of the cross examination of Hughes the attorney said, "This is version number four, right?" Hughes answered, "Yes, sir."

While the prosecution was attempting to poke holes during Hughes' story, Hughes did not break his stare from the prosecutor. Even while he is preparing the next question, Hughes never breaks eye contact.  At one point, the prosecution told the jury Hughes denied having sex with the teen seven times the first night he was questioned about the alleged assault.

The prosecutor also told Hughes it was embarrassing "a 20-year-old man can't satisfy an underage girl." Hughes responded, "Yes, sir."

During the cross, the mother of the alleged victim arrived back in the courtroom. She was no longer upset, but intently listening to the prosecutor's every word.

Hughes also talked about last week's Escape from Annex. He told the jury he got out through the vent in his cell because he "wanted to be free." Hughes admitted to the jury the Escape from Annex was his plan. The prosecutor said, "You ran out of the jail because you didn't want to face this jury. Not the behavior of an innocent man." Hughes responded, "No sir."

Hughes told the jury no one from inside the jail helped them, except for a phone call. Hughes told the court someone called Stacey Brackeen for a ride and she picked them up. Brackeen's husband is Johnathon Slagle. You can read more on his connection to the escape here: http://www.newschannel6now.com/Global/story.asp?S=13046639

The prosecution wrapped and handed questioning back to the defense. The defense attorney stressed to the jury that Hughes did not see any pictures or sworn statements before the trial began. With that, the defense rested and Hughes left the stand.

The trial of Jimmy Noel Hughes started Tuesday. The jury picked Monday consists of 7 men and 5 women.

Tuesday morning, the victim took to the stand to discuss details of the alleged assault. She accused Hughes of taking her down a deserted road, punching her in the face multiple times, and breaking her nose. The girl then said that Hughes sexually assaulted her.

After the testimony of the victim, the judge granted a short recess.

When the trial resumed, the defense cross examined the witness, detailing her timeline of the supposed events that took place. Under cross examination, the victim stated that she was drinking and smoking the night of the alleged assault. The girl also told the court that she was acting out against her parents during this time in her life.

At one point during the trial, the defense attorney asked the victim to look at Hughes. The victim refused.

Under redirect from the prosecution, the victim stated that she was assaulted by Hughes multiple times and that she feared for her life. She also stated that she reassured Hughes, saying that it was her fault, not his, for the alleged act.

The prosecution called a nurse who specializes in sex assault cases to testify. Erin Wilson testified that the victim required 6 staples to the head, and that she had a broken nose, chipped teeth, and multiple bruises.

The prosecution then called a new witness. Derek Chambers worked with Hughes and is a friend of the alleged victim. Also taking the stand is Chamber's cousin, Joseph Kincaid. Both of these men testified that they knew both the alleged victim and the suspect, saying the alleged victim did not indicate to them that she had any interest in Hughes.

The prosecution also called a member of the Wichita Falls Police Department and a member of the Wichita County Sheriff's Office.

Wednesday the prosecution continued its case against Jimmy Hughes. Their first witness was a medical expert who explained the signs and symptoms of someone who deals with rape trauma and post dramatic stress disorder.

The prosecution team then called a detective with the Wichita Falls Police Department. While on the stand and under oath, the prosecution showed a tape of the interrogation of Jimmy Hughes, the first time he was interviewed by police. This is the first time the courtroom got the chance to hear from Hughes, who was adamant that he had no sexual contact with the underage victim for fear of '25 to life'. Through profanity, Hughes explained his side of the story.

While the over 30 minute tape played, members of the jury would stare at Hughes, who would pass notes to his attorney or simply just stare back.

Wednesday afternoon the prosecution called two expert witnesses to talk about the DNA and forensic evidence. A crime lab technician told the jury Hughes' DNA was found on the alleged victim. The statistical probability of anyone having the same profile of the sample that matches Hughes is 1 in 1 quintillion (1 in 1,000,000,000,000,000,000).

The prosecution also called Clay County Sheriff Kenny Lemons as a witness. Under Sheriff Lemons' Testimony, the courtroom got the chance to see another video interview. This tape showed Hughes two months after the alleged attack, handcuffed, acting agitated, and using profanity. He claimed that the victim was drinking and smoking weed the night of the attack. Again he was firm stating that he did not have any sexual contact with the victim. Then, Sheriff Lemons showed Hughes the DNA evidence, and asked if Hughes still maintained his story. At that point, Hughes retracted his original statement and claimed that he and the victim were intimate, but that it was consensual. He quickly asked for a lawyer.

The prosecution's last witness was with the Wichita County Sheriff's Office and works in the Jail Annex. He explained how Hughes was one of the 4 inmates who escaped on Thursday, August 19th. He was caught the same day. Hughes was being held at the Annex because he failed to make bond.

Newschannel 6 will continue to give the latest updates during the course of the trial.

Mary Moloney, Newschannel 6

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