Crime

Convicted killer's brother charged with perjury in murder trial

Aryion E. Sanders, 17, of Alton, was convicted of first degree murder March 23, 2018 in connection with the shooting death of James E. Hubbard, Jr., 41, of Alton, on Aug. 8, 2015. His brother, Ahmad Sanders, now faces perjury charges relating to the trial.
Aryion E. Sanders, 17, of Alton, was convicted of first degree murder March 23, 2018 in connection with the shooting death of James E. Hubbard, Jr., 41, of Alton, on Aug. 8, 2015. His brother, Ahmad Sanders, now faces perjury charges relating to the trial. Provided

Aryion Sanders’ brother will now face perjury charges stemming from Sanders’ murder trial, which ended with a guilty verdict last week.

Ahmad Sanders, 18, of Cottage Hills, has been charged with perjury in the murder trial that convicted his brother, Aryion Sanders, of killing James Hubbard Jr. in 2015.

“It is absolutely necessary for citizens to tell the truth when speaking to police and when testifying under oath,” said Madison County State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons. “I refuse to surrender this basic principle, and will always fight to ensure that the search for truth is the bedrock of our justice system”

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 Aryion Sanders six days later, but it took three attempts at trial to reach a verdict. In the first trial, Ahmad Sanders and another witness 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.

This third attempt began 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.

Now Ahmad Sanders is accused of making false statements during the trial. Ahmad was 15 when the murder occurred, and a video of his interrogation was played at trial in which he told police that his brother had shot Hubbard, according to the Alton Telegraph.

But he was 18 at the time of last week’s trial, when he testified that he only implicated his brother because police put pressure on him and told him he would not be able to play sports if he did not talk, according to the Alton Telegraph. Ahmad was a starting player on Alton High School’s football and basketball teams. “They were all up in my face,” he testified at the trial, according to the Telegraph, and said he was interrogated apart from his parents despite his age.

His bail has been set at $100,000. If convicted, he faces 2 to 5 years in prison on the Class 3 felony charge. He remains in custody at the Madison County Jail.

Two other people are facing charges of intimidation alleging that they threatened witnesses connected to the September trial. John C. Riddlespringer, 49, of Alton; and April Akins, mother of both Aryion and Ahmad Sanders, have each been charged with intimidation, according to the Madison County State's Attorney's Office..

Hubbard was the father of five children, then aged 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 remains in custody 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.

Elizabeth Donald: 239-2507, @BNDedonald

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