South L.A. serial rapist gets death sentence for killing 3 women
Michael Hughes, 56, was convicted in November 2011 of the first-degree murders of Yvonne Coleman, 15, Verna Williams, 36, and Deborah Jackson, 32. A jury recommended in December that he be sentenced to death. He had already been serving life in prison with no parole for four other murders.
L.A. County Superior Court Judge Curtis B. Rappe rejected an automatic motion to reduce the sentence to life without parole, citing later that the “aggravating evidence substantially outweighs the mitigating evidence.”
Early-life circumstances should be taken into account when considering punishment, Hughes’ lawyer Aron Laub argued. Hughes was beaten as a child and had witnessed his mother perform a forced abortion on his sister.
Several victims' family members who arrived at the downtown courtroom said they felt Hughes had to take responsibility for his actions.
“I am not broken because of him, I am only broken-hearted,” said Linda Coleman, mother of Yvonne Coleman, to the judge before sentencing. She urged the judge to give him the maximum penalty.
-- Melissa Leu
Photo: Michael Hughes. Credit: Los Angeles Police Department