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Killer of teen and 3-year old set to die in November

Preston Hughest III
Preston Hughest III
Texas Prison System

Preston Hughes, III, nopw 45, was convicted and sentenced to death in Houston for the 1988 murders of fifteen-year-old Shandra Charles and her three-year-old cousin, Marcell Taylor.
At Hughes’s 1989 trial, the State presented evidence that Hughes stabbed both of the victims in the neck and chest, severing their aortas and jugular veins.
When the police arrived at the scene, Shandra Charles was still alive. She told a police officer that a man named “Preston” had stabbed her after trying to rape her. The police officers went to an apartment complex near the vacant field in
which they were found. The manager of the complex gave them a list of tenants. The only tenant named “Preston” was Preston Hughes, III.
The officers went to Hughes’s apartment around 2:30 a.m. He agreed to accompany them to the police station, where he later gave two written statements admitting that he had stabbed both victims.
In his first statement, Hughes said that he had been carrying a knife with him because some people had been talking about trying to kill him. He said that, as he was walking home through the vacant field, someone came up behind him and touched him on the shoulder. He said he turned and “just started sticking with the knife.” It was dark, and he couldn't tell who was there, but after he “stuck the first two times,” he saw that it was Shandra Charles (He called her “Shawn”). He said, “I was “f***ed up and I just got scared and kept sticking.”
In his second statement, he said “Shawn” did not come up behind him and tap him on the shoulder, as he had said in his first statement. Instead, he said he saw her walking with a little boy. He said when they met in the middle of the trail through the field, she told him she was on her way to his apartment to borrow his contact lenses. When he told her she was not going to wear his contacts, he said she kissed him, and then started rubbing his crotch. He described in detail the events that occurred next. He said heavy sexual activity followed, which became unsatisfactory to him. When “Shawn” demanded money, he refused. She threatened to accuse him of rape and when she hit him, he pulled his knife and began stabbing her.
The little boy with “Shawn” looked up at him and started crying. When the boy ran between he and “Shawn,” he stabbed the child several times.
At the guilt-innocence phase of his trial, Hughes took the stand in his own defense. He denied he killed the two and claimed he was framed by the police. He testified he confessed to the killings because the police beat him and threatened him, causing him to fear for his life.
The jury found him guilty of capital murder.
At the punishment phase, the State called Tracy Heggar. She testified Hughes had raped her in 1985, when she was thirteen years old and had threatened her with a gun in an attempt to prevent her from testifying against him about the rape.
Prosecutors also presented evidence that, at the time of the murders, Hughes was serving two ten-year probated terms for the aggravated sexual assault and aggravated assault of Heggar.
The defense called several witnesses. Six of Hughes’s friends and his mother testified that he was a good-natured, non-violent person. He testified in his own behalf at the punishment phase denying he raped or threatened Tracy Heggar. He professed sorrow for the deaths of the victims, but denied he committed the murders.
He promised the jury that he would not be violent in the future and asked the jury to spare his life. They sentenced Hughes to death.

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