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Woman pleads innocent to vehicular murder

Kerana Todorov
ALL | GrassValleyArchive

A woman described as mentally ill in court records pleaded innocent to vehicular murder and other charges Wednesday in Nevada County Superior Court.

Elizabeth A. Hughes, 39, is accused of killing Ned D. Taylor of Lake Wildwood Feb. 2 in a car crash at the intersection of Highway 20 and Rough and Ready Highway.

Hughes, who used to live in Nevada City, is also charged with allegedly evading and assaulting Nevada County Sheriff’s Deputy Mike Jewell, court records say. The murder charge carries a 15-year-to-life prison term.

In addition, Hughes was also charged with assaulting Amy and David Slaughter. The couple were in a car Hughes allegedly rammed, court records say.

In a court written statement, Jewell said the suspect showed no emotion on her face when she rammed her red Ford coupe into the Slaughters’ vehicle.

On Wednesday, Deputy District Attorney David Walters said Hughes was charged with second-degree murder because his office could prove that she “decided to proceed despite the awareness of the great risks. It was so aggravated and reckless,” he said.

Visiting Judge William Skillman of Sierra County set a felony conference for Feb. 20.

Walters asked for an earlier date, but the judge declined, noting the seriousness of the charges. After the court hearing, Hughes’ attorney, Timothy Balcom, said he has to examine more than 900 pictures of the crash.

Hughes, who surrendered Jan. 3 at Wayne Brown Correctional Facility, is out on $150,000 bail.

Hughes Wednesday agreed to take her medications, keep her medical appointments and to not drive.

Balcom said his client now lives with family out of county. He declined to say where she resides, citing privacy concerns.

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