Friday, 21 June 2024

Renato Hughes trial scheduled to begin this month

LAKE COUNTY – With the appeals court denying a change of venue motion, a young San Franciscan facing murder charges for the death of two companions during an alleged December 2005 break-in is scheduled to go to trial here this month.

Renato Hughes, 22, was arrested Dec. 7, 2005, the same day as he and two other men, Rashad Williams and Christian Foster, are alleged to have broken into the Clearlake Park home of Shannon Edmonds.

Edmonds reportedly shot Williams and Foster as they fled the scene. It's Hughes, however, who is facing charges for their deaths; a state statute allows those accused of committing a felony which is likely to result in a lethal response to be held liable for any deaths that may occur.

As Lake County News previously reported, Hughes' attorney, Stuart Hanlon of San Francisco, had filed a change of venue motion with Lake County Superior Court.

Hanlon said Hughes – who is black -- can't get a fair trial in Lake County due to the county's predominantly white population and other factors, including pre-trial publicity.

On March 2, Judge Arthur Mann denied the motion.

However, on April 10, Hanlon filed a petition for a writ of mandate and a stay of Mann's ruling with the state's First Appellate District Court, according to court documents.

Last week, the appellate court denied Hanlon's petition to have the order reversed and the venue moved, the court reported.

That means the way is clear to proceed with trial in Lake County.

In addition to two charges of murder, Hughes is facing felony charges of first-degree robbery, first-degree burglary and attempted murder, according to records from the Lake County Jail, where he has remained for the year and a half since his arrest.

District Attorney Jon Hopkins said motions in the case will begin May 8, with jury selection set for May 10.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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