Murderer of 4 Back in Court in 4 More Slayings

LOS ANGELES -- A man serving life in prison for killing four women in the 1990s pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges that he murdered four more women, including a 15-year-old girl, in the 1980s and 1990s.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Craig Richman ordered Michael H. Hughes, 52, to remain jailed without bail.

Hughes is due back at the downtown courthouse Feb. 19, when a date is scheduled to be set for a hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to require him to stand trial.

Hughes is already serving life in prison without the possibility of parole for the four slayings of which he was convicted in 1998.

He could face the death penalty if found guilty of the latest murder charges, which include the special circumstance allegations of murder during the commission of a rape and a prior murder conviction.

The new charges involve:

  • The slaying of 15-year-old Yvonne Coleman, who was found in Imperial Park in Inglewood by two city park employees on Jan. 22, 1986;
  • The slaying of 36-year-old Verna Williams, who was found by two teenagers in the stairwell of a school on 68th Street on May 26, 1986;
  • The slaying of 30-year-old Deanna Wilson, who was discovered in a garage at 323 W. 55th St. on Aug. 30, 1990; and
  • The slaying of 32-year-old Deborah Jackson, who was found by a security guard at 4635 W. Pico Blvd. on June 25, 1993.

Autopsies revealed that all four of the victims had been sexually assaulted and strangled, according to the District Attorney's Office.

Hughes was linked to the crimes through DNA samples from sexual assault kits. Detectives with the Los Angeles Police Department's Robbery-Homicide Division were investigating unsolved murders between 1960 and 1997 when they got the DNA "hits," officials said.

Hughes was previously convicted of the September 1992 killing of Teresa Ballard, the October 1992 slaying of Brenda Bradley and the November 1993 murders of Terri Myles and Jamie Harrington.

The case was filed in June by Deputy District Attorney Bobby Grace, who handled the case against Chester Dewayne Turner, who was sentenced to death last year for murdering 10 women over an 11-year period.

Another convicted serial killer, Ivan Hill, was sentenced in March 2007 to death for murdering six prostitutes.

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