"Our government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or for ill it teaches the whole people by its example.
Crime is contagious. If the government becomes a law breaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself."
–Supreme Court Justice Brandeis

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Family tragedy: Murder/suicide leaves infant without parents



Family tragedy: Murder/suicide leaves infant without parents

By Becky Campbell
Press Staff Writer

Johnson City police are wrapping up their investigation into a weekend shooting that is now classified as a murder/suicide.

The argument between Frankie Hughes, 31, and Rebecca Pugh Markland, 33, that led to the Saturday morning shooting was apparently over custody of the couple’s 10-month-old son, according to JCPD Sgt. Billy Church.

Church said Hughes had recently been released from prison after serving a sentence for a forgery conviction, and also had a 2002 conviction for obtaining narcotics by fraud.

The shooting occurred at 901 Long St. a little before 10:30 a.m. Church said that Markland went there to ask Hughes for some money.

While she was there, the two began to argue, Church said. That’s when Hughes shot Markland and then himself.

Angela Wilcox, a friend of Markland’s who rode to the house with her, was apparently outside when the shooting occurred.

She told police she heard what sounded like “firecrackers,” so she drove a few blocks down the street — with Markland’s son — and called 911.

The man who lives at that house, Eddie Yakley, was home when the shooting happened but told police he was in his bedroom when he heard the shots.

Yakley told police that he saw Hughes put the gun to Markland’s face, but didn’t see her get shot. Yakley also told police that he didn’t see Hughes shoot himself.

According to Church, police found a note on Hughes indicating that he intended to kill himself.

It was the second suicide note police found in connection to the case in as many days.

On Friday, Markland flagged down a police officer near Johnson City Medical Center.

She told the officer that Hughes had held a gun to her and threatened to shoot her while she was holding their child.

Markland and her son got away unharmed. She gave police a handgun case for a 9mm pistol. She told officers it was the case for the gun Hughes used to threaten her.

Police escorted Markland to that hotel room so she could get her belongings. Hughes was gone, but officers found a note indicating he intended to kill Markland and then himself.

Markland also told police that Hughes had stolen her prescription for clonazepam. Police found the empty prescription bottle in the room, according to the report on the incident.

Hughes died a short time after the shooting and Markland died Saturday night from her injuries.

The Department of Children’s Services was called to find an appropriate custodian for the couple’s son.