Charges filed against pair in trucker’s slaying

| 10/13/2009

Prosecutors have charged a man and woman who allegedly lured a Missouri truck driver into a rest area bathroom before stealing money and killing him last year.

Platte County, MO, Prosecuting Attorney Eric Zahnd charged two individuals, who are currently serving unrelated prison terms, in connection with the murder of Valentin Kirilchuk. Kirilchuk, who lived in Springfield, MO, was found shot to death in September 2008 at a rest area on Interstate 29 in Platte County.

John M. Hughes, 33, and Dana K. Tutor, 34, are accused of luring Kirilchuk into a rest area bathroom before he was robbed and killed.

According to court documents, Kirilchuk was parked Sept. 8, 2008, at the rest area on I-29 north at mile marker 27 near Dearborn, MO. Tutor allegedly went to the cab of Kirilchuk’s truck and told him she needed $100.

Kirilchuk followed Tutor into the rest area’s main building. As he entered the building, prosecutors allege Hughes forced Kirilchuk into the men’s restroom at gunpoint. Investigators say Hughes then tried to rob Kirilchuk before shooting him in the head once at close range with a 9mm handgun.

The gunshot killed Kirilchuk.

Hughes allegedly took Kirilchuk’s wallet and $200 as well as a cell phone. Hughes, Tutor and three passengers then left in a white 2003 Chevy Trailblazer.

Hughes was later arrested in York County, NE, for driving while intoxicated. During that arrest, police found a 9mm handgun. DNA on the handgun was consistent with Kirilchuk’s DNA. Hughes is currently behind bars in Ohio after stabbing a man to death in Zanesville, OH. Tutor is incarcerated in Mississippi.

Hughes was charged with first-degree murder, first-degree robbery, and armed criminal action. Tutor has been charged with second-degree robbery and second-degree murder. If convicted on both counts, Tutor could face a sentence of life in prison.

Zahnd said he may seek the death penalty against Hughes.

“This was initially a difficult case, but the Highway Patrol never gave up on the investigation,” Zahnd said in a statement. “Because of their persistence, we have now charged two people we allege are responsible for this robbery and murder.”

– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer