Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Man Charged with Attempted Murder Gets More Charges, Higher Bond ; Judge: Safety of Witnesses an Issue

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Man Charged with Attempted Murder Gets More Charges, Higher Bond ; Judge: Safety of Witnesses an Issue

Article excerpt

Joseph Taylor Hughes, who is charged with severely beating his girlfriend, on Friday faced revocation of his bond, and he was bound over for trial on six more felonies in a second case.

In the new charges filed in that case, three witnesses said they either lied or were prepared to lie to clear Hughes of charges, including the attempted murder and rape of his former girlfriend.

After Hughes was bound over for trial, the judge increased his bonds from $250,000 to $600,000.

Shawnee County District Judge Nancy Parrish bound over Hughes, 30, of Topeka, on three counts each of perjury and obstruction of official duty. The six counts are linked to the attempted murder and rape case Hughes faces.

On Monday, three defense witnesses -- Justin McNorton, Erin Wilson and Angela Goehring -- testified they lied or were prepared to lie on behalf of Hughes about circumstances leading to the beating and rape.

The three testified they had been given scripts of what they were to tell Hughes' first defense attorney and a defense investigator, all of which would have benefited Hughes and showed him to be innocent of the charges.

Parrish denied a prosecution motion seeking to compel Kathleen Ambrosio, Hughes' first attorney, to testify.

On the question of revoking Hughes' $250,000 surety bond on the original charges, senior assistant district attorney Todd Hiatt said Hughes planned the crimes that led to the six new counts, undermining the integrity of the court and the judicial process and conspired with three people to "defraud the court."

Defense attorney Veronica Dersch said the $250,000 bond was a "hefty amount" that protected the community safety.

Noting she had just bound over Hughes on the six new felonies, Parrish revoked his $250,000 bond.

The judge bumped up the bond in connection with the attempted murder and rape case to $300,000 in cash or surety, then set the bond on the six new felony charges at $300,000 in cash or surety, noting a concern with the safety of the three witnesses who testified Monday. …

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