Hughes sentenced to 20 years in prison for role in Orman murders

Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Samuel Hughes

CHARLESTON, Mo. -- Samuel Hughes has said he thought he was standing as a lookout for a burglary Oct. 27, 2009. He didn't know about a plot to kill John Lawrence for insurance money. He didn't know Jamie Orman, her son Derrick and her unborn son would die that morning. He didn't know Ryan Patterson would face life in jail.

What Hughes knows now is his fate for his involvement in the murders.

Hughes, who admitted to standing as a lookout while Ryan Patterson shot and killed Orman and her sons, was sentenced to 20 years in prison Tuesday for second-degree murder.

Hughes testified in December that he was recruited to be the lookout man in what was supposed to be a burglary, but turned out to be a murder. His testimony helped convict Patterson of the three murders. Cape Girardeau County Prosecuting Attorney Morley Swingle recommended the sentence and dropped two counts of murder, burglary and attempted arson Hughes was originally charged with.

"Patterson may not have been found guilty if it weren't for his testimony," Swingle said.

The sentence and subsequent removal of the other charges surprised Jamie Orman's sister Kelly Yates Hoffman. Hoffman believed Hughes would be sentenced for second-degree murder and would still face the burglary and attempted arson charges.

"Either I misunderstood the plea bargain or something slipped through the cracks," Hoffman said.

Hoffman plans to ask Swingle about the agreement Monday at Patterson's sentencing hearing in Jackson.

Hughes will try to be relocated to a different state to prevent retaliation from Patterson or any other inmates involved in the murder, Swingle said.

"He wants to move out of fear Patterson or his cohorts will take his life," Swingle said.

Hoffman told Judge David Dolan she believed Hughes served as more than a lookout man and the only thing stopping him from helping commit the murders was a locked door in the garage.

Hughes and Patterson tried to break into the house together, but when the garage door was locked, Patterson told Hughes to go the front of the house and keep a lookout, Swingle said in December.

Hughes is the second of three people convicted as part of the murder to be sentenced. Michelle Lawrence, the woman who pleaded guilty to conceiving a plot to kill Lawrence for insurance money, was sentenced to 15 years in prison last month. Patterson was convicted of three counts of first-degree murder last month and will be sentenced Monday. A jury suggested he receive three life sentences without the possibility of parole instead of the death penalty.

"No punishment is stiff enough," said Bruce Orman, Derrick Orman's father.

While the last of the sentences will be handed at Patterson's hearing next week, there is still no closure for Bruce Orman or his family. Hughes, Lawrence and Patterson's punishment will not bring back Jamie, Derrick or Jamie's unborn son, Orman said.

"It's nice the legal process is winding down," Orman said. "But I still miss my buddy."


Pertinent address:

Charleston, MO

1224 N. Missouri Ave., Cape Girardeau, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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