Mother of murder victim testifies suspect 'ambushed' her

Staff report


The mother of the woman Lance Hundley is accused of killing testified today in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court about the beating she said Hundley gave her.

Denise Johnson told jurors before Judge Maureen Sweeney that Hundley ambushed her early Nov. 6, 2015, inside her daughter Erika Huff’s Cleveland Street home after she took a gas can Hundley was holding and put it in an attached garage.

When she came back in, Johnson said, “he ambushed me.”

“He had a hammer, and he kept hitting me in the head,” Johnson testified. “He said you better get right with the Lord because you are going to meet your maker tonight.”

Hundley, 48, of Warren, is charged with aggravated murder with death penalty specifications in the death of Huff, 41, who suffered from multiple sclerosis and needed a wheelchair to get around, attempted murder for the beating of Johnson, and aggravated arson. Prosecutors said in opening statements Hundley tried to set Huff’s body on fire.

Jurors heard opening arguments in the case this morning before hearing testimony.

Johnson was called to her daughter’s home about 2 a.m. by a medical alarm, so she drove over to let paramedics in. When she got there Hundley was standing with a gas can, which she thought was odd because it was so early in the morning and the gas can belonged in the garage.

Johnson testified that while she was being beaten, Hundley was talking the entire time. She said Hundley told her he killed Huff because she made advances toward him and that disrespected Hundley’s brother, who is the father of Huff’s daughter.

Hundley also assaulted Johnson with a knife before throwing her in Huff’s bedroom next to Huff’s body, she said.

“She was still warm,” Johnson testified. “I told her mommy was here.”

The room was on fire and Johnson was wrestling with an air conditioner in the window when a police officer on the other side yanked it aside and pulled her out.

Testimony is expected to continue this afternoon.

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