Convicted felon deemed a ‘habitual criminal’ |

Convicted felon deemed a ‘habitual criminal’

Ryan Summerlin
Yurick Kyson Hughes

Yurick Kyson Hughes, a 43-year-old man with a long criminal history, faces what’s essentially a life sentence following his conviction in a burglary trial last week.

Following Hughes’ conviction on 11 of 12 counts, Judge Charles Greenacre found the defendant to also be a habitual criminal, which carries a mandatory multiplier effect on his eventual sentencing.

Deputy District Attorney Matthew Barrett said Hughes has lived a “life of crime” from long before the crimes at issue in this trial. He asked the judge to sentence Hughes to a total of 36 years in prison.

One January morning in 2015 Glenwood Springs police arrested Hughes on charges of burglary, trespassing, theft and criminal mischief, all felonies. The arrest occurred only five days after Hughes was let out on bail from another case.

He was suspected in multiple thefts involving vehicles with windows smashed in with rocks and thousands of dollars in stolen property. Police discovered he was in possession of many items stolen in these cases.

Felony charges in his trial included burglary of a building, theft and five counts of trespass of an automobile. Misdemeanors in this case included three counts of theft, and one of criminal mischief. The only charge he was not found guilty of was petty offense theft.

Following this conviction, and before sentencing, the court held a hearing on whether Hughes would be deemed a habitual criminal.

This recent trial was his third felony conviction in Garfield County and seventh felony conviction in his lifetime, all of which involve similar charges of burglary, theft and crimes involving vehicles.

“This case was kind of a snapshot of his entire criminal history, which is lengthy and aggravated,” said Barrett.

Prior to these convictions Hughes was convicted on similar felony charges in Huerfano County, Arapahoe County and twice in El Paso County.

This also doesn’t include other misdemeanor cases and felony arrests.

His criminal activity did not cease between these convictions, and the recent trial wasn’t the only felony case pending against him in the last six months, said Barrett.

Hughes was arrested in another case involving a vehicle break-in and the theft of high-end photography equipment. But once this stolen property was returned, the victim in that case, a traveling photographer, was uncooperative, and the case had to be dismissed, the deputy DA said.

The habitual criminal finding is rather infrequent in the 9th Judicial District. Habitual criminal charges are filed with some regularity, but the last time the charge went to a hearing and resulted in a habitual criminal finding in the 9th Judicial District was about five years ago, said Barrett.

The community needs to know that for a habitual offender coming up on his seventh felony conviction there is an end to this road, and it’s in the department of corrections, Barrett said in his sentencing argument.

Testifying at this hearing, Hughes said he believes that all of these felony convictions should have been overturned based on deals he’d cut with the prosecutors in those past cases. He also said the charges in some of these cases originated in work he was legally doing for the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and other law enforcement agencies.

Rather than give a closing argument on sentencing, Hughes’ attorney said the defendant wanted a presentencing investigation report to be conducted. Greenacre agreed to continue sentencing until that can be accomplished.

Hughes’ sentencing is scheduled to be taken up again on Nov. 4.

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