He successfully eluded police for nearly three decades, but on Tuesday a former Toledo man stood before Lucas County Common Pleas Judge James Bates and pleaded no contest to robbery and felonious assault for stabbing a gas station attendant and cleaning out the safe in 1984.
Odis Hughes, Jr., now 61, of Denver, faces up to 15 years in prison on each charge when he is sentenced Feb. 25.
Louis Kountouris, an assistant Lucas County prosecutor, said Hughes fled Toledo almost immediately after the robbery at the former Sohio gas station at Cherry Street and Central Avenue, assumed the name of a pimp he knew of in Toledo, and stayed out of trouble.
“By changing his identity, he basically disappeared for 30 years,” Mr. Kountouris said after the hearing.
Hughes was found out last fall when police in Colorado began investigating a complaint filed against Hughes alleging he had impersonated a police officer. Though he was going by the name of Juan Carlos Jackson, he had kept his own Social Security number, and when police crosschecked the number, they found an arrest warrant for him for robbery from Toledo.
“He admitted it to get it off his chest almost 30 years later,” Mr. Kountouris said.
According to prosecutors, Hughes had at one time worked at the Sohio station and was friends with Tonia Guy, the woman working at the station on the day of the holdup, March 23, 1984.
He came to the door shortly before the station opened at 7 a.m., and Ms. Guy, then 34, let him in and went to make coffee. Suddenly she felt something on her back and turned around to find Hughes with a knife.
Ms. Guy was stabbed several times but survived. Hughes took the keys to the station’s safe and cleaned out the night deposits — more than $5,800.
Hughes told police in his confession that he was under the influence of drugs at the time of the robbery, Mr. Kountouris told the court.
“This is kind of out of the ordinary,” Judge Bates told Hughes after finding him guilty of the charges. “Pretty serious stuff,” but then no contact with law enforcement for nearly three decades.
The judge allowed Hughes to remain free until sentencing on a $50,000 bond he posted in October.
By Jennifer Feehan - The Blade, Toledo, Ohio (MCT)
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