Murder charges dropped in slaying of tribal leader

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Charges have been dropped against a former casino security director turned preacher who was accused in the 1981 slayings of a Riverside County tribal leader and two other people.

James “Jimmy” Hughes, 53, was charged in October with killing Cabazon Indian Reservation leader Fred Alvarez and the two others to stop them from exposing allegedly illegal activities on the reservation.

The slayings were known as the “Octopus Murders” because of the complexity of the case and the many theories that have circulated over the years about who committed the crimes.

In a court hearing in Riverside on Thursday, the California attorney general’s office asked that charges be dropped because of the quality of the evidence in the 29-year-old case and new information obtained by state law enforcement authorities.

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This post was last updated: Jul. 5, 2010