man charged last fall in an Interstate 29 rest stop killing that occurred in 2008 is now in custody at the Platte County Jail.
John M. Hughes, 34, was brought to Platte County on Friday, Jan. 22 on a governor’s warrant. He had been incarcerated in Ohio, where is serving time for a murder authorities say was committed about 11 days before the killing at the I-29 rest stop near Dearborn on Sept. 8, 2008.
Hughes and his girlfriend, Dana K. Tutor, 34, who is currently incarcerated in Mississippi, are accused of luring Valentin G. Kirilchuk, 39, of Springfield, Mo. into a restroom at the rest area, where he was robbed and killed. Kirilchuk’s body was later found by a passer-by.
Missouri State Highway Patrol authorities and Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd held a press conferece last October to announce that Hughes and Tutor were being charged in the case.
Hughes faces charges of first degree murder, first degree robbery, and armed criminal action.
Hughes was arraigned on the charges in Platte County on Jan. 26.
“He waived his right to counsel,” Zahnd said this week.
A preliminary hearing in Hughes’ case has now been scheduled for March 1 at 1:30 p.m.
According to court documents, Kirilchuk was parked at the rest area on I-29 north at mile marker 27 near Dearborn on Sept. 8, 2008. At about 7 p.m., Tutor allegedly went to the cab of Kirilchuk’s truck and told him she needed $100.
Kirilchuk followed Tutor into the rest area’s main building. As he entered the building, Hughes allegedly forced Kirilchuk into the men’s restroom at gunpoint.
Hughes then allegedly tried to rob Kirilchuk.
In court papers, Hughes allegedly described the incident for investigators at that point. Hughes said after he pushed Kirilchuk into the restroom to rob him, Kirilchuk began to fight him off. Hughes said Kirilchuk was trying to grab him by the throat and face. According to court documents, Hughes said as Kirilchuk was fighting him, he pointed the gun at Kirilchuk’s head and pulled the trigger, shooting Kirilchuk one time in the right side of the head.
Hughes allegedly took a wallet containing $200 and a cellular telephone from Kirilchuk. Hughes, Tutor, and three passengers then allegedly left the area in a white 2003 Chevrolet Trailblazer.
Hughes was later arrested in York County, Nebraska for driving while intoxicated. During the arrest, authorities found a 9mm handgun. DNA found on the handgun is consistent with Kirilchuk’s DNA, Zahnd said. During that arrest in Nebraska, it was discovered the state of Ohio had a warrant out for Hughes’ arrest.
Hughes is currently in an Ohio prison, serving a life sentence for the August 2008 murder and robbery of David Durben in Zanesville, Ohio. Hughes used a knife in that killing, and stole weapons, including the 9 mm pistol allegedly used in the Platte County killing the next month.
Hughes has been charged with first degree murder, which carries a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. He has also been charged with first degree robbery and armed criminal action. Prosecutors could also seek the death penalty against Hughes. Zahnd said he would review the case to determine whether the state would seek the death penalty.
Tutor has been charged with second degree robbery and second degree murder. If convicted of both charges, she faces up to life in prison.