An Alton teen has been convicted of murder in the death of James Hubbard Jr., who was found shot to death in the street in 2015.
Aryion Sanders was 17 when he shot Hubbard four times at point-blank range, according to the Madison County State’s Attorney’s Office. Hubbard, 41, was found Aug. 8, 2015 in the 700 block of Oakwood Avenue in Alton — the same block where Sanders lived — with several gunshot wounds, and died before paramedics reached the scene.
The Major Case Squad of Greater St. Louis was activated to investigate the killing, with 25 investigators from 20 departments pursuing leads.
Police arrested Sanders six days later, but it took three attempts at trial to reach a verdict. In the first trial, two witnesses failed to appear, and it had to be continued by Madison County Associate Judge Neil Schroeder. In September, a three-day trial had gone to jury deliberations when Circuit Judge Kyle Napp was informed that the jury pool had been tainted, and she declared a mistrial.
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This third attempt began on Wednesday, and after two days of testimony, the case went to the jury at 10 a.m. Friday. After five hours of deliberation, the verdict came back: Sanders, now 19, was found guilty.
“Despite the repeated attempts to derail this trial, Madison County justice has prevailed,” said Madison County State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons in a statement. He commended the “tireless work” of the Major Case Squad in the investigation. “Their hard work and determination paid off today.”
Hubbard was the father of five children, then ages 6 to 21. His father, who shares his name, is a retired Alton Police officer who had served the community for more than 20 years.
Sanders remained in custody as of Friday at the Madison County Jail pending sentencing, which will take place in six to eight weeks. He faces 20 to 60 years in prison, and is eligible for an additional 25 years since he used a firearm to commit the crime, which would give up up to 85 years in prison. He will be required to serve 100 percent of his sentence.