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THOUSAND OAKS : Man Denied Parole in Wife’s Death

A former Thousand Oaks resident convicted twice in the death of his wife has been denied parole by a Delaware parole board.

Robert D. Hughes, 42, a former math teacher at Ascension Evangelical Lutheran School and a member of the Thousand Oaks church, was denied parole last week because he would not admit he killed his wife, Serita.

“It did come up, and he continues to deny it,” Parole Board Chairman Oliver W. Casson said. Casson said Hughes can reapply for parole in a year.

After his wife’s death in Delaware in 1976, Hughes moved to Thousand Oaks with his two sons, where he drew supporters who believed he was innocent.

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Some church members still keep in touch with Hughes regarding his case, said Pastor Willis Moerer. Hughes taught eighth-grade mathematics at the Ascension Evangelical church school in 1977 and 1978.

Hughes was sentenced to 30 years in prison after pleading guilty to a reduced charge of manslaughter in September, 1985.

When he entered the plea, he had already served four years for two previous first-degree murder convictions in the strangulation of his wife. Both times, he was sentenced to life without parole.

But both convictions were overturned by the Delaware Supreme Court--once for prosecution misconduct and the second time because the jury may have been prejudiced.

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Hughes entered the guilty plea three weeks before he was to be tried a third time. He has consistently maintained his innocence, even after he pleaded guilty.


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