Watkins recounts a criminal career | News, Sports, Jobs

WARREN — Trumbull County District Attorney Dennis Watkins has written many letters opposing parole during his long career, but he’s never written one before about a Warren inmate who was began his criminal career around the same time Watkins entered the DA’s office as a junior attorney. .

The prosecutor, in his 10th term, now says Amos Hughley – who had his first documented arrest aged 18 on July 7, 1973 – was far too lucky.

The Ohio Parole Board, however, scheduled a hearing for Hughley in July outside his cell at the Northeast Ohio Correctional Center near Hubbard Road in Youngstown.

Hughley, 67, is serving time for various crimes over the past five decades, some of which were committed after his parole. He was found guilty of intentional homicide, 12 counts of aggravated robbery with firearms specification, one count of felony assault with another firearms specification and one count of aggravated robbery. with firearms and recidivism specifications with repeat violent offenders, five counts of kidnapping with a firearm, and repeated violence specifications. the offender’s specifications and one count of incapacitated possession of a firearm.

Watkins wrote that he didn’t take math classes in college, so he believes Hughley’s sentence maxed out at 140 years. “…But however you do the math in Hughley’s case, it shouldn’t matter, because he has plenty of time left for his sociopathic endeavors and beliefs,” Watkins wrote the Ohio Parole Authority.

In a 17-page letter, Watkins urged the state council not to release Hughley. He gives many reasons why just by scrolling through Hughley’s long rap sheet. After this first brush with the law, Warren’s police records show Warren making additional arrests because Hughley was charged with various misdemeanors, including assault and robbery committed between 1973 and 1978.

“From then on, nothing stopped him from committing more crimes, and only God knows how many times people tried to help him or stop him from doing more,” Watkins writes.

His first prison term was six months after he pleaded guilty before Judge David McLain in 1975 to receiving stolen property.

In November 1978, Hughley was charged with the murder of Ernest Hargrave, who was shot with a 20-caliber shotgun. When Hughley was arrested in Niles, officers found him with two loaded caliber shotguns. 20 and he said to the police: “I shot the (expletive) and I hope he dies.” His first taste of prison came with the intentional homicide conviction and a sentence of 4 to 24 years in prison handed down by Judge Donald Ford.


After being denied early release by Ford, Hughley was paroled. On May 12, 1983, Hughley and an accomplice entered TJ’s Lounge on the High Street in Warren, not far from the courthouse where 20 customers “had a quiet evening,” Watkins writes.

Hughley and his accomplice, both armed, announced their intention to rob the bar and its customers. According to witnesses, Hughley proclaimed, “My name is Iceberg. I’m from Cincinnati and I’m stealing (expletive) from there and I’m here to rob you (racial slurs and expletives).

Seven days later, Hughley and his accomplice walked into another liquor store, the Chateau Lounge in Warren, when 20 to 30 customers were there. This time the two men entered the bar firing shots and yelling at the bartender and his customers to leave all the cash on the bar.

As the bartender reached for a gun, Hughley fired a shot, hitting a customer causing him to bleed profusely, Watkins wrote. “Fortunately, this client survived,” said Watkins.

At trial, Hughley was found guilty by a jury and Judge Mitchell Shaker on November 22, 1983, sentenced him to 39 years on the gun specification alone and 33 to 115 years in prison for the crimes.

An appeals court upheld the convictions, but overturned part of his sentence, limiting it to just two 3-year-old gun specs for each bar robbery. Watkins said he still disagrees with the decision.

This decision limited Hughley’s minimum prison term to 21 years.


While in prison from 1983 to 1993, Watkins said, Hughley eventually found himself transferred to Trumbull Correctional Facility near his home. Watkins noted that this could be a sign of impending release and made more family visits possible. But Watkins said that with all these positive signs, Hughley would not stop his “bad manners”.

On June 7, 1993, TCI prison officials called the Ohio State Highway Patrol to help investigate a stabbing at Warren’s prison.

“It turns out that inmate Hughley was apparently busy and creative in prison and made or obtained a makeshift knife”, Watkins wrote.

Fellow inmate Kevin Adams was on the receiving side of Hughley’s hock, taking him in the hand. When a correctional officer intervened, Hughley became angrier and he attacked Officer John DeFalco. According to Watkins, after stabbing the inmate, Hughley turned to the guard and said: “Now I want you.”

Hughley again returned to the Trumbull County Court of Common Pleas. On August 17, 1993, he pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated assault and was sentenced by Shaker to three years in prison, a sentence which added to his long sentence.

“At this time, Hughley, not yet 40, is returning to prison in Ohio to serve three different prison sentences for using three different types of weapons to injure people – a shotgun, a handgun and a knife, Watkins wrote.

Less than 10 years later, on March 22, 2002, Hughley was again released on parole.

“Is there anything stopping him from committing more crimes and hurting others?” Watkins asks rhetorically in his letter.

Watkins, in letters to the parole board, spoke of a “Learned Remorse Syndrome. For Hughley’s condition, I could… invent a new phrase – Chronic Crime Syndrome,” he wrote.


With newfound freedom, Watkins said it took Hughley less than six months to pull off a solo armed robbery at First Place Bank on Mahoning Avenue NW in Warren on September 11, 2002. He had a gun and approached a counter. , pointed the gun at the window, gave the woman a white plastic bag and demanded all the money. He told the cashier to hurry up and if she gave him dye packs he would kill her. He received approximately $9,000. Hughley then waved the gun at the other bank workers, telling them all to get off. He fled the bank in a white Cadillac, eventually running it over on North River Road. A state trooper who was in pursuit entered the wrecked Cadillac and snatched the small black semi-automatic pistol from Hughley’s lap, which was stuck inside.

Hughley was seriously injured and taken to Cleveland Metro Hospital, where he confessed to the bank robbery.

In court on January 30, 2003, Hughley pleaded guilty to eight counts: aggravated robbery with a firearm and repeat offenders, felony assault with specifications, five counts of kidnapping – for knocking bank employees to the ground – and having incapacitated weapons. Another Trumbull County judge, John M. Stuard, sentenced him to 20 years.

So he was back in jail for Hughley – with a third inmate number – meaning he’s still serving three separate stacks of sentences racked up over the past 44 years.

Watkins is amazed that the parole board notification shows this is his first hearing under number A442547.

But in his letter, Watkins reminded the board that his sentence under the previous inmate numbers has still not been fully served or completed because he still violated parole and was returned to prison.

“This man should never be released!” Watkins wrote the painting. “To consider his release under the circumstances that we know to be true is crazy.”

Laura E. Austen, deputy director of policy and outreach at the Ohio Public Defender’s Office, said it is her office’s policy not to comment on an inmate’s parole hearing prospects.

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