Triple murder suspect pleads guilty to second degree murder - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Triple murder suspect pleads guilty to second degree murder

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By Holly Brantley - bio | email

CHARLESTON, MO (KFVS) - Thursday, one of three suspects in a Cape Girardeau triple murder case struck a plea deal with prosecutors. Samuel 'Ray Ray' Hughes is one of three accused in connection with the murders of Jamie Orman, her unborn son, and her teenage son, Derrick. It happened in October of 2009.

Hughes entered a guilty plea. The deal means lesser charges for Hughes. He now faces only one count of second degree murder. Now, he has to continue to cooperate to get a lesser sentence. He's agreed to testify against the two other suspects, Michelle Lawrence and alleged shooter: Ryan Patterson.

Prosecutors say the deal gets them closer to building a case against Patterson and Lawrence, who allegedly planned the crime.

However, for the families involved, they'd like to see all three suspects face the maximum penalty.

"There was more than one murder," said Stephanie Howard, Jamie Orman's sister. "I still feel like we're getting the bad end of the deal. There were three murders, not just one."

In front of Howard, and his own loved ones Hughes entered the plea. He admits to serving as a lookout for what he thought was a burglary. Instead, it turned out to be a murder plot gone wrong.

In the courtroom, prosecutors told the judge Hughes says he saw Patterson standing over the victims after they'd been shot.

"He has been threatened by Patterson," said Prosecuting Attorney Morley Swingle. "Patterson told him if he told anybody what happened I'll kill you. He's been consistent about that."

Families say on one hand they are happy to see the suspects behind bars, but they would prefer to see all three punished to the fullest extent.

"They get off too easy," said Bruce Orman, Derrick's dad. "But the state's got to do what they have to do. They all had a hand in it."

"It's a step for justice for Jamie and her boys," said Jamie's mom, Terry Bettis. "We'll see this through to the end."

We also spoke with some of Hughes family members who say they feel Hughes should be held accountable for what he's done. Swingle says he plans to ask for 20 years if he continues to cooperate. The maximum sentence would be 30.

Patterson's trial date is set for August 1, 2011. Lawrence appears in court again in June. Assuming all goes as planned, Hughes will be sentenced September 13, 2011.

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