Stephanie Rebman 5/7/09
Mike Tonos 5/7/09
HED: Third, final man pleads in Travis Brown murder
Christopher Hughes was sentenced to life in prison for the 2007 slaying.
By DANZA JOHNSON
TUPELO - Christopher Hughes will spend the rest of his life in prison after pleading guilty to a murder he committed nearly two years ago.
Hughes was last of three men to plead guilty in the May 11, 2007, shooting death of 27-year-old Travis Brown at a home on Magnolia Street. Brown was an unintended victim of an armed robbery attempt.
Hughes pleaded April 30 before Circuit Judge Thomas Gardner and was sentenced to life in prison on the murder charge and 20 years, with 15 suspended, on an attempted armed robbery charge.
Brown, a 1998 graduate of East Union High School and former Marine, was shot and killed while answering the door at the home of Bobby Keller. According to police, Keller was the target of an armed robbery by the three men and others.
Dell Hatch, Brown's mother, said Thursday are working to keep him alive in the heart and mind of his daughter, Julianna.
"She's 5 now and she understands better what happened to Travis," said Hatch. "She was only two or three when it happened. She talks about him a lot and her memories comfort her."
Last month, Jason Matthews and James Knowles both pleaded last month to lesser charges in exchange for their testimony against Hughes.
Matthews, 25, pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact of attempted armed robbery and was sentenced to five years in prison with credit for two already served.
Knowles, 21, pleaded guilty to attempted armed robbery and manslaughter. He was sentenced to 30 years on the attempted armed robbery count with 10 suspended and an additional 20 years on the manslaughter conviction. The terms will run consecutively.
Shakesha Cummings, 24, Natasha R. Osborne, 26, and Jennifer Blair, 23, also were sentenced in the case.
Cummings received five years for accessory after the fact of capital murder and five years for conspiracy to commit armed robbery. A year was suspended from the conspiracy conviction and she was given time served for the accessory charge, meaning she has four years to serve.
Osborne received five years for conspiracy to commit armed robbery with one year suspended and Blair received five years for conspiracy to commit armed robbery with all five suspended. All three were in the house when Brown was killed.
As a part of their plea agreements, Blair, Cummings and Osborne also agreed to testify against Hughes, whose trial was set for May 11.
Assistant District Attorney Heather Joyner, the state prosecutor in the case, did not return Daily Journal phone messages for comment Thursday.
Hatch said she understands that her son and family aren't the only victims.
"There were other families involved," she said, "and we pray for them as well."
Contact Danza Johnson at (662) 678-1583 or firstname.lastname@example.org.