Tutor murder trial ends with hung jury

A murder trial in Platte County Circuit Court ended in mistrial last week when the jury could not come to a decision.

The trial of the second of two defendants in the 2008 “rest stop murder” case was held April 10-19 in Division I court before Judge Thomas Fincham. Dana Tutor, 42, was charged in 2010 as the accomplice of John Hughes, who on Sept. 8, 2008 allegedly used Tutor to lure truck driver Valentin G. Kirilchuk into a restroom at the rest stop between Camden Point and Dearborn where he then robbed and killed him.

Dana Tutor

Dana Tutor

Jury deliberations began Wednesday, April 19, but according to court documents came to a halt on Thursday, April 20 with the jury “hopelessly deadlocked.” Tutor will again appear before Fincham for a docket call on Thursday, May 4.

Tutor’s two-week jury trial has been rescheduled a half-dozen times since 2014, when she refused a plea deal. 

Hughes pleaded guilty to the crime in 2010 and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. He pled guilty to first degree murder, first degree robbery and armed criminal action.

Tutor has been charged with second degree robbery and second degree murder. If convicted of both charges, she faces up to life in prison. 

Extradited from a Mississippi jail in 2009 for the Platte County murder charge, Tutor has been held on $1 million cash-only bond at the detention center since 2010, making her the county’s longest-running inmate.

During his plea and sentencing hearing, Hughes said his girlfriend and alleged accomplice Tutor went to the cab of Kirilchuk’s truck and told him she needed money. Kirilchuk followed Tutor into the rest area’s main building. 

As Kirilchuk entered the building, Hughes forced him into the men’s restroom at gunpoint.

Hughes tried to rob Kirilchuk, who struggled with his attacker. Hughes then shot Kirilchuk in the head one time at close range with a 9mm handgun, killing him. Hughes took a wallet containing cash and a cellular phone from Kirilchuk. Hughes, Tutor and three passengers then left the area in a white 2003 Chevrolet Trailblazer.

Hughes was later arrested in Nebraska for driving while intoxicated. 

During the arrest, authorities found a 9mm handgun, which was linked by DNA to the murder of Kirilchuk. The handgun had been stolen in 2008, when Hughes robbed and stabbed to death David Durben in Zanesville, Ohio. 

Hughes is currently serving a life sentence in Ohio for those crimes.