Victim’s family seeks justice

WARREN – The toddler pointed to the picture in front of her, smiled and said “Daddy” as her great-grandmother watched from across the room.

The 2-year-old girl was just a baby when her father, Dominique Hugley, was fatally shot Jan. 12, 2012, at the age of 21.

Now, a little more than two years later, family members said they are still waiting for someone to be held accountable for his death.

“It’s just so hard,” Irene Hugley said as she made a feeble attempt to wipe away the tears streaming down her face. “I’ve cried every day for over two years. I don’t think that will ever change. He was my grandson. He was my baby. I’ve been waiting over two years for justice. That’s really all we want right now.”

Reports stated that Dominique Hugley, who grew up in his grandmother’s Saratoga Avenue S.W. home, was driving a tan Oldsmobile van when he was shot. Tyrone L. Dorsey, 21, of Northwest Blvd., the passenger in the vehicle, took the wheel and drove to the Sunoco gas station on West Market Street to get help, police said.

Police found Hugley lying face down in the side yard of a Third Street S.W. home. A spent bullet and shattered glass were found near the intersection of Hayes Avenue S.W. and Third Street S.W.

Hugley was shot twice. Dorsey was shot once in the wrist.

“Someone called us and told us that Dominique had been shot,” his older sister, Sierra Hugley, said. “Your whole world just stops.”

Dominique’s father, Frederick Hugley, said that when he first heard about the shooting, he didn’t realize it had been fatal.

“I thought OK, he’s hurt. But I didn’t realize …. I couldn’t imagine he was gone, that someone had killed him,” he said. “It’s your worst nightmare become real. Even now, it still doesn’t seem possible.”

A witness told investigators she heard gunshots and a light-colored van with its sliding doors open drive away.

A police report states the murder was a result of suspected gang activity, but police have never elaborated on that and the Hugleys vehemently dispute it.

“He wasn’t someone to get in trouble. He had no gang affiliations. He was a good person,” Sierra Hugley said.

Members of the Hugley family said last week that they are hoping someone will come forward with information or the evidence authorities need to put the case to rest.

“It was up and down for awhile. We thought at one point early on that this was it. We thought they had the guy and that he would pay for this crime and we could move on, have some sort of peace. But that didn’t happen. Now here we are over two years later and we’re still waiting, we’re still in limbo,” Frederick Hugley said.

In January 2012, a Trumbull County grand jury declined to indict Daron Warfield Jr., 23, of Lane Drive, on murder charges in the case, meaning all charges were dropped. His case was not remanded to a lower court.

Since then, the case has been at a standstill.

Last May, Warfield was sentenced to two years in prison in an unrelated case.

Warren Police Lt. Jeff Cole said last week that Dominique Hugley’s case is still open and that investigators would pursue any new leads.

Likewise, Chris Becker, an assistant Trumbull County prosecutor, said authorities would gladly review any new information brought to their attention.

“It’s unfortunate that this case is still open. But if anyone has any information, we would welcome and appreciate that,” Becker said.

Meanwhile, Sierra Hugley said the family is hoping to get the case “back out there.”

“We’re hoping that someone will come forward, someone who knows something, heard something, saw something, anything that might help,” she said.

She said that in his absence, the family has made an effort to remind his daughter, Domini’Que, how much her daddy loved her.

“We make sure she knows him,” Sierra Hugley said. “We show her pictures and tell her about him. She was so young when he died, but she had been with him all the time. We’re just trying to keep his memory alive for her, to keep reminding her of him and of how much she meant to him.”

Family members said Hugley and his fiancee, Tamica Kyser, were planning to be married when he was killed.

“The only thing I want now is for the man who did this to be punished for it,” Irene Hugley said. “He should be put in prison for life. No one has the right to take someone else’s life. It’s just not right. No family should have to go through this.”