Wing man doesn’t show, found guilty

Published 11:13 pm Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A Covington County jury deliberated for 18 minutes Tuesday before finding a Wing man who refused to participate in his own defense guilty of burglary and attempted murder.

Covington County deputies arrested John David Hughes, 44, on May 15, 2012, for a home invasion on Red Oak Road. The homeowner’s 16-year-old son and the victim, David Reynolds, apprehended Hughes. Reynolds testified that he was awakened by an unknown noise, opened his bedroom door, and found Hughes standing a few feet from him. Reynolds said Hughes then raised a 12 gauge shotgun and fired a round of buckshot at point blank range. Seeing the barrel coming up, Reynolds pushed it away and retreated into the bedroom. Hughes pursued and shot Reynolds in the shoulder.

The homeowner, Ellen Weed, with whom Hughes previously had had a relationship, testified that Reynolds and her son ambushed Hughes in the hallway and subdued him until law enforcement arrived.

Both District Attorney Walt Merrell and defense attorney Bill Alverson said it is highly unusual for a defendant to be absent during a trial.

“In more than 25 years of practice, I have never seen or experienced such behavior” Alverson said. “Clearly, it sets a very negative inference with the jury.”

Hughes also was represented by William Alverson III.

“Though Mr. Hughes was not there, his lawyers conducted the trial just as if he were, and fought until the bitter end,” Merrell said.

Hughes told investigators that he had been drinking beer “all night long,” and had taken four Lortabs before he went to Weed’s home.

Hughes has at least one prior felony conviction, and could face life in prison after being convicted of these two.

Merell said he intends to ask the Court to sentence Hughes to consecutive life sentences for his crimes. Sentencing has not yet been set.