Carla Hughes Trial Update: Guns, DNA, and Working on Saturday

A continued discussion of the Carla Hughes murder trial, by Curt Crowley, a Jackson, MS Criminal Defense Lawyer.

On Friday, the State called Carla Hughes’ cousin, Patrick Nash, to testify.  Nash stated that he had given a .38 caliber Rossi handgun to Hughes prior to the murder of Avis Banks.  Nash also identified the murder weapon as the gun he gave to Hughes.  Nash testified that Hughes returned the pistol to him two days after Banks was killed.  Later, after hearing of Banks’ murder, he took the gun to Ridgeland Police.  This is considered to be the turning point in the investigation, and pointed police to Hughes as a suspect.  Based upon what I’ve seen, if Nash had not taken the weapon to the police, Hughes likely would not have been charged with the murder. 

Nash’s father, James Nash, also took the witness stand and corroborated most of Patrick’s story.  A ballistics expert established that the weapon was, in fact, the gun used to kill Avis Banks. 

The testimony from these witnesses really didn’t establish anything new.  Most of these facts were already conceded by the defense.  The fact that Hughes took the weapon back to Patrick Nash just two days after the murder is suspicious, and could not have helped the defense.

The most interesting testimony came from Bill Jones, the section chief in charge of DNA analysis at the Mississippi Crime Lab.  As you know, Avis Banks’ blood was found on a pair of Hughes’ shoes.  However, when Jones examined the shoes, he didn’t see any blood.  He then swabbed the shoes to test for the presence of blood or other DNA.  The tests came back negative.  The State then sent the shoes to Scales Biological Laboratory, a private lab, for additional testing and the blood was “discovered.”   Jones testified the blood may have been missed during his examination because he did not swab the entire surface of the shoe.

Bo Scales of the Scales Lab testified that he examined and swabbed the shoes, and that the results were positive for blood.  Curiously, he also testified that the package which contained the shoes was not sealed when he received it. 

In the words of famed criminalist Dr. Henry Lee, “something wrong here.”  I find it very troubling that the Mississippi Crime Lab found no blood when the shoes were examined there, but when the shoes went to the private lab, the blood was suddenly found.  Jones’ explanation for how he missed the blood was weak.  He didn’t swab the entire surface of the shoe?  Excuse me, Bill, but this is a damn homicide case and you didn’t swab the whole shoe?  Are you freaking kidding me? 

Also troubling is the fact that the package containing the shoes was not sealed when it arrived at Scales.  I’m not ready to accuse anyone of planting the blood on the shoes just yet.  However, Hughes is on trial for capital murder.  The State is seeking the death penalty.  In addition, the Avis Banks’ family is seeking justice, and they’re entitled to answers about what happened.  The stakes couldn’t be higher for the parties involved.  With so much on the line, the handling of the forensic evidence in this case was inexcusably, and unforgivably, sloppy.  Ms. Hughes, the victim’s family, and the public at large deserve better than this.

The State rested at the end of the day.  The defense will begin putting on it’s case today.  Yes, they’re working on Saturday.  No word yet on whether Carla Hughes will take the stand in her own defense.

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6 responses to “Carla Hughes Trial Update: Guns, DNA, and Working on Saturday

  1. looking at the facts can not be missed here. Keyon went to Carla’s b4 practice and after practice. Keyon ask Bridgette if she would bring him some food to practice. Was that so she did not get to practice b4 him, since he was running late. There is so much reasonable doubt here. I believe Keyon committed this crime solely by himself. I believe he set Carla up. Keyon must of had alot of money or a gold piece. He is not good looking, has no morals or conscience. I believe Keyon is a sociopathical liar and murderer. His current wife better take a real good look at this trial and then run for her life.

    • I think you’ve hit the nail on the head on two key points that also jumped out at me.

      First, the alibi is very convenient. Too convenient if you ask me. And the primary witness on this point is a married woman he was “talking to.”

      Second, you stated that you thought he set Carla up. On that note, he had a key to the house and access to the murder weapon. And more importantly, he borrowed her shoes. What heterosexual man borrows a woman’s shoes? Perhaps one that needs to wear them to commit a murder and make it look like a woman did it.

      I’m not ready to say he did it, but I am ready to say there’s plenty of reasonable doubt here.

      Thanks for the comment.

  2. Futhermore, wny would blood be found around the door that was kicked in? Keyon killed her first and then kicked the door in. No one knew Avis whereabouts like Keyon did. He knew what time she would be pulling into that garage. I believe
    Bridgette could break this case wide open. If Bridgette would come forthright about what she knows we might be looking at a different defendant. I believe Keyon killed Avis b4 he got to the gym. The 40 something calls and texts between Keyon and Bridgette at the gym were to help Keyon with an alibi.

  3. FIRST OF ALL LET ME SAY AVIS AND HER CHILD WAS KILLED CAUSE KEYONWANTED TO BE A MALE W****. MY SYMPATHY GOES OUT TO HER FAMILY ONLY. MS. MATLOCK U NEED TO GO TO JAIL ALSO CAUSE YOU LYING FOR A MAN THAT YOU KNOW MAY HAVE SOMETHING TO DO WITH AVIS MURDER AND YOU ARE MARRIED! IF HE CHEAT ON AVIS WHAT IS HE GOING TO DO TO YOU(no respect)CARLA I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO BELIEVE OF YOU, YOU LET KEYON DISRESPECT YOU N ALL TYPE OF WAYS SOMETIMES I WISH YOU GET WHAT YOU DESERVE ON THE OTHER HAND I THINK YOU WERE SET UP.THIS WHOLE TRAIL HAS SICKN ME IT REMINDS ME OF THE OJ SIMPSON TRAIL. COME ON WOMEN HAS IT GOTTEN THIS BAD THAT WE JUST CANT FIND OUR OWN MAN! WHOEVER DID THIS HORRIBLE CRIME NEEDS TO BURN N H***!

  4. Well the verdict is in and just as I thought, they found her guilty. I believe it was the gun and knife and the fact the her sttorney’s did not address where she went to this so called target pratice. I am not saying I believe she’s guilty but it should have been addressed since she did have the gun and retuned it a few days later.
    On the other hand, I couldn’t convict her on the evidence because to much doubt has been raised. She could have very well been set up. It’s a very sad day for all involved. As for as Keyon, if Carla did do this thing, he has himself to blame for cheating and misleading the women that were in his life. He should not think to much of himself at all and neither should his poor wife.

  5. Bill Jones need to be fired. This trial went national and you didn’t do what??? Is this why crime is so rampant in your neck of the woods. This can’t be the first time you did this and picked up a pay check on Friday. How do you sleep at night? That much richer, huh?
    For Carla to borrow her cousin’s gun and it somehow find it’s way to out of her possession, gets fired 5 times, finds it back to her possession and she gives it back to her cousin, all in a few days and she comes up with a lame story on its whereabouts, tells me she knows what became of the gun and the bullets that weren’t in it. Not to mention the fact that a recently fired gun stinks of smoke. You knew it was fired out of your possession. Didn’t you hear the talk of the town that Avis got shot and killed during the time the gun was, as we are lead to believe, used for target practice?
    I’m sorry to say, either she knew who fired the gun, or she fired the gun, or she saw HIM fire the gun. I don’t think she fired the gun. She seems like a good Christian woman that’s in way over her head. God helps those who help themselves….she better tell all she knows on that man.

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