Something Weird is Going on Here
A reader of the Portland Tribune, who identified himself as “a Neighbor”, speaks of how Hughes’ neighbors and the police had tried to save him from the dangerous people who had been hanging out at his Northeast Portland house. The neighbor claims that Hughes’ drug addiction had caused personality changes in Hughes and that he had started hanging out with a dangerous group of car thieves and strippers.
In two years Hughes had gone from being a “normal” neighbor to being a wanted fugitive. His legal troubles began in March when Hughes accompanied his 1st ex-wife, Treva Richardson, to the home of Gary George on NE 42nd in Portland. Richardson had recently ended a relationship with George and was fighting with him over custody of a dog.
Hughes and Richardson were armed when they confronted George at his home. They threatened George’s life if he didn’t return the dog. They broke the window of George’s home. Hughes poured gasoline in through the broken window and threatened to burn the house down.
“I’m going to burn your house,” Hughes said, according to court documents, “You really screwed up, Gary.” Hughes fired his shotgun and George returned fire. Hughes and Richardson fled the scene but were arrested a few blocks away with an illegal sawed-off shotgun.
Hughes was charged with attempted murder, but that charge was dropped when he plead guilty to first degree burglary with a firearm, possession of a short barrel shotgun and arson. He was scheduled to appear in court for sentencing on Tuesday November 7, 2006. Instead Hughes disappeared.
Hughes is reported to have told friends and neighbors that he would run or die rather than go to jail. Portland Police and U.S. marshals spent a week searching for Hughes in the Portland area. They visited the Hospitality Inn on SW Capitol Highway more than once looking for him. On Sunday November 12, they arrived at the motel about 10am and found Hughes.
That morning Hughes sent text messages that some are seeing as his suicide note. At 7:00am Hughes sent to his daughter, “they are here I love you clear my name.” An hour later he sent “to murdock and hoe god bless you” this message was evidently for two North Portland police officers. A few minutes later he sent “I forgive whoever gets me tell them I wish them well.”
After sending the messages Hughes called KGW TV and told them that he was wanted on a weapons charge, “but had never been in any real trouble with the police.” He told TV reporters that the police were going to kill him.
Hughes reportedly called the front desk a little after 10am to say that police were looking for him and someone was pounding on his door. While motel employees were calling the police they saw Hughes jumping from the window of his room with his luggage.
After jumping from the window Hughes found himself in an alley surrounded by high chain link fences. Police had soon cut off Hughes’ escape. Hughes refused to give up and yelled at the police to shoot him. Hughes reached into his jacket. Police fired a “less than lethal” bean-bag round at Hughes, but the chain link fence blocked it. Hughes continued to yell at officers to shoot him and reached for his waist-band as if he were going for a weapon.
Three police officers opened fire at Hughes and he was hit several times. He died on the way to the hospital and police found no weapons on him. This is the fourth police shooting in this city in just a few months. Unlike the other shootings there has been almost no attention paid to the death of David Hughes.
Could it be because of the investigation into the murder of Gary George? George, the man Hughes had threatened in the March assault, was found beaten to death in his home a few weeks after the confrontation with Hughes and Richardson. Police discounted Hughes as a suspect in the murder and have charged Bobby Donald Barnes with the murder.
Barnes, who has a long criminal record for prostitution and rape and who is a registered sex offender, is awaiting trial on charges of aggravated murder and “associated crimes.” Chief Deputy District Attorney Norman Frink said, in an email, that it is “unclear if there will be a trial.” More on Barnes in a later post.
Every time I read or hear something about this case, it leaves me with an uneasy feeling. More is going on here than meets the eye. This case nags at me. I am aware that some of my readers are acquainted with the people involved. If you are I would like to hear from you. Please contact me through the comments on this page (I will keep your contact information confidential) or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and please let me know how to get in touch.