KANSAS CITY -- Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd said Friday that he might seek the death penalty for a 33-year-old man accused in the shooting death of a truck driver last year at a rest area on Interstate 29.
John M. Hughes, an inmate in Ohio, faces charges of first-degree murder, first-degree robbery and armed criminal action in the death of Valentin G. Kirilchuk, 39, of Springfield, Mo.
Also charged was Dana K. Tutor, 34, who is in a Mississippi prison. She is accused of second-degree felony murder and second-degree robbery. Tutor is Hughes’s girlfriend, Zahnd said.
Bond was set at $1 million for each defendant.
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 Kirilchuk entered the building, Hughes was nearby, pretending to talk on a pay phone. He allegedly pushed Kirilchuk into the men’s restroom at gunpoint.
Hughes then allegedly tried to rob Kirilchuk. As the two men struggled, Hughes shot Kirilchuk in the head once with a 9mm handgun. Kirilchuk died at the scene, Zahnd said.
Hughes allegedly took a wallet containing two $100 bills and a cellular telephone from Kirilchuk. Hughes, Tutor, and three passengers then allegedly left the area in Tutor’s white 2003 Chevrolet Trailblazer.
Hughes later was arrested in York County, Neb. 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 Hughes shot Kirilchuk days after he stabbed to death a man in Zanesville, Ohio. Hughes is serving a life sentence in connection to that slaying, he said.
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