Locals in a small town in the US state of Nevada are said to be outraged after a former police captain convicted for incest and other crimes is due to be released in a matter of weeks despite being sentenced to life.
Considered the capital of Nevada’s goldbelt, Elko sits between Salt Lake City and Reno. Located along Interstate 80, it’s a small town with a population of under 20,000 people that apart from goldmining struggles to attract any attention.
That is until this week when it was revealed that Nevada’s Board of Parole Commissioners had granted parole to former Elko police captain, Aaron Hughes, only four years after being convicted for incest with a female teenage relative.
Documents reveal parole was granted on January 11, with Mr Hughes eligible for release from the Lovelock Correctional Centre on April 1.
Local citizens as well as Mr Hughes’ former colleagues with Elko county police have not been enamoured by the details, which were only released publicly this week.
“This is an outrage, that … raping and child porn producing p.o.s. should be publicly tortured and executed. Hopefully he gets what he deserves in the long run,” one reader wrote to the Elko Free Daily Press.
Another resident commented: “FOUR YEARS??? After destroying so many people’s lives???”
Mr Hughes was convicted in 2013 following a long-running investigation that had commenced in 2008 after the police captain was accused of stealing a quad bike and some tools from a Jerritt Canyon mine.
It was during that investigation that detectives discovered a video of Mr Hughes engaging in sexual acts with a 17-year old relative.
Mr Hughes was also charged with child pornography but that charge was dropped as part of his plea deal in 2013. The court was bound by statute to sentence Mr Hughes to life in prison for incest with parole eligibility after two years.
Interestingly, at his trial the Nevada Division of Parole and Probation recommended to grant Mr Hughes parole with only a 30-day sentence in the Elko County Jail, which was the only other option available to the court.
Local police have consistently opposed an early release for Mr Hughes with Elko police chief, Ben Reed, writing to the parole commission two years ago to oppose the disgraced police officer’s first parole attempt in 2015.
“The Elko Police Department opposed an early release date and put comments in writing for various reasons,” Mr Reed told local media this week.
“We will be as mutual and professional as possible now that the parole commissioners have made their decision.”
Mr Hughes’s teenage victim testified against him in 2013, saying the former police officer’s actions had made her lose her love for family and life.
“I have lost so much faith in what is good and what is true,” she said at the time.
“I have convinced myself that I have moved on so many times only to have my feet ripped out from beneath me again and again.
“This case has been continued for way too long. … I blame (Mr Hughes) for his mistakes because I’m being dragged through the mud right behind him.”