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YOUNGSTOWN Hughes gets 20-to-life for McKinney murder



Published: Mon, January 14, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The defendant fought with deputies last week but was in handcuffs today.

By BOB JACKSON

VINDICATOR COURTHOUSE REPORTER

YOUNGSTOWN -- Security was tight this morning in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court, where Melvin Hughes was sentenced to prison for the September killing of 25-year-old Eugene McKinney.

Three days ago, Hughes exploded in anger and had to be restrained by deputy sheriffs and a Youngstown police detective after a jury convicted him of aggravated murder and aggravated burglary. Today, he was in handcuffs and leg shackles.

Judge Maureen A. Cronin sentenced Hughes, 31, of East Marion Avenue, to maximum terms of 20 years to life in prison for the aggravated murder, and 10 years for the aggravated burglary, to be served consecutively. She also imposed a three-year sentence on each charge for a firearm specification, which means he used a gun to commit the crimes.

He showed no reaction this morning upon being sentenced.

Want to his home: Hughes admitted taking an AK-47 assault rifle to McKinney's Ferndale Avenue home in September. He said he had found the gun in the basement of an apartment building near his home and wanted to sell it for cash to pay his delinquent electric bill.

During the trial, Hughes said McKinney lunged at him and the two wrestled over the gun. He said that it fired twice during the struggle and that the second shot hit McKinney in the chest. Hughes also was accused of robbing the house of money and a video game McKinney had been playing with his girlfriend just before the shooting.

Apologizes: Before he was sentenced, Hughes turned and spoke to McKinney's family and to his own family, apologizing for the grief he had caused. "I don't know what brought about Sept. 3. I wish I never went up there to find out," he said.

Defense attorney Douglas B. Taylor said he will appeal the conviction and sentence.




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