Victim’s Wife Charged in 1990 Murder Case
District Attorney General Brent Cooper (second from right) explains aspects of the investigation into the 1990 murder of Larry Hughes during a press conference last week. With Cooper are (from left) Giles County Sheriff’s Lt. Shane Hunter, Giles County Sheriff Kyle Helton and District Attorney’s Investigator Tommy Goetz. Ashley Solomon / Pulaski Citizen
The widow of a Giles County man killed 26 years ago has been charged and arrested in connection with his murder.
Mary Ann Hughes was taken into custody Wednesday after the Giles County Grand Jury returned a true bill charging her with first-degree murder.
The true bill states: “That Mary Ann Hughes on or about the 28th day of March, 1990, in Giles County, Tennessee and before the finding of this indictment, did intentionally, deliberately and with premeditation kill Larry Hughes, in violation of T.C.A. 39-13-202, all of which is against the peace and dignity of the State of Tennessee.”
Hughes is being held on $400,000 bond and is set for her first court appearance Monday, Nov. 28.
Thursday of last week, 22nd Judicial District Attorney General Brent Cooper and Giles County Sheriff Kyle Helton, along with their lead investigators, Tommy Goetz and Lt. Shane Hunter, held a press conference to discuss the investigation that led to the indictment of Mary Ann Hughes.
According to Cooper, Larry Hughes died as a result of two gunshot wounds with a small caliber handgun to the back of his head. He said he didn’t know why, but the initial investigation did not result in charges.
“No one should have to wonder who’s responsible for the death of a loved one as the Hughes family has now for 26 years,” Cooper said. “We’re hoping to bring them closure, bring some closure to the community so they know what happened and they can close this chapter in the history of Giles County.”
When asked about specific evidence that brought charges 26 years after Larry Hughes’ murder, Cooper said he couldn’t point to just one.
“Like a lot of cases this is a circumstantial case, made up of many pieces,” he explained.
“We look at it like it’s a puzzle. There are a lot of pieces to this puzzle. We just recently realized that we felt we had enough of those pieces that could put them before a jury and they could see the whole picture. We presented those facts to the grand jury yesterday and they agreed and returned an indictment in this case.”
Cooper stressed that an indictment does not mean a conviction, only that there is enough evidence to charge.
“We believe there is enough circumstantial evidence, scientific evidence, along with witnesses that may have heard or seen one small piece of this puzzle,” he added.
He also said that he and the investigative team believe that Mary Ann Hughes had help.
“A woman her size would never be able to move a man the size of Larry Hughes without assistance from someone,” Cooper said. “We know she had assistance. We have a pretty good idea who that person is, but I would just ask that if anyone out there knows anything about this case, if anyone has talked to them about their involvement in this case or what they’ve been told by the people involved in this case, we would like for them to reach out to us.”
When asked about key parts of the investigation, Cooper said an important step was the exhumation of Larry Hughes’ body.
Cooper said this case should be a sign of hope to others who have loved ones whose murders have not been solved.
“To anyone who has lost a family member to a murder and that murder is not solved and it’s in this district, just know that if there’s anyway possible we’re going to investigate those cases and bring those people to justice,” Cooper said. “I know I’m in contact with people regularly, with family members who have lost loved ones and those murders are unsolved and this today will cause pain for some of those families because they’re waiting for the relief that [the] Hughes family has now, and when they see us solve a case that’s not their case it brings everything back and makes it fresh again. We hate that. All we can say is hang on, and if we have our way, their day will come to.”
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