Breaking News
More () »

Louisville murder suspect was protecting someone else, lawyer argues

Naji Hughes is accused of shooting and killing 36-year-old Diunta Cross at an apartment complex in the Tyler Park neighborhood earlier this year.
Credit: Proxima Studio - stock.adobe.com

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The suspect accused of murdering a 36-year-old man in Tyler Park earlier this year was in court on Wednesday.

Naji Hughes, 35, is accused of shooting and killing Diunta Cross at an apartment complex on Beechwood Avenue, near Baxter Avenue in the Highlands. 

He has been charged with murder, Louisville Metro Police said.

During a probable cause hearing, LMPD Detective Killian Harris testified that cell phone records and witness statements indicate Hughes was at the scene of the crime on Jan. 2 and had fatally shot Cross.

"Cell phone records place him there at the time of the crime," Harris said.

Hughes initially told police he was at home with his mother at the time of the shooting, however, Harris says a witness at the scene told Homicide detectives she knows Hughes very well and said he was there that night.

In court, Hughes' defense attorney Casey McCall argued that it was unclear who shot first, adding that his client was "protecting the witness" from Cross.

"It's pretty clear that she called Mr. Hughes for help and was concerned enough at some point to take the gun away from the deceased Mr. Cross," McCall said.

District Court Judge Karen Faulkner approved the probable cause for murder, but agreed they need more clarity on the facts.

"I will agree that the information that was provided to me today does raise some issues," Faulkner said. "This is obviously something that's going to need to be fleshed out in circuit court."

Hughes is being held on a $150,000 bond. If he posts that, he can go on home incarceration.

The case is scheduled to go before a grand jury on Feb. 20.

Make it easy to keep up-to-date with more stories like this. Download the WHAS11 News app now. For Apple or Android users.

Have a news tip? Email assign@whas11.com, visit our Facebook page or Twitter feed.

Before You Leave, Check This Out