LOCKPORT - A man wanted for a homicide in Connecticut that has drawn some national media attention waived extradition Wednesday morning during a brief appearance in Niagara County Court.
Three Groton, Conn., police officers were on hand to take custody of Dante Hughes, 30, the suspect in the Dec. 11 shooting death of a man who reportedly intervened when he saw Hughes beating up his girlfriend outside a Groton bar. Connecticut media have dubbed it a "Good Samaritan" killing, and the story also drew the attention of the Washington Post.
Hughes was captured Dec. 13 on the Canadian side of the Rainbow Bridge in Niagara Falls. The Canadian authorities deported him Tuesday, according to court papers, and Hughes was held in the Niagara County Jail until Wednesday's appearance before Judge Matthew J. Murphy III.
Hughes, represented by Assistant Public Defender Michael H. White, admitted his identity and said he did not want an extradition hearing on the arrest warrant from Connecticut. The court proceeding did not touch on any question of his guilt or innocence of the murder charge.
Hughes is accused of killing Joseph Gingerella, 24, with three gunshots after Gingerella tried to stop Hughes' assault on the woman inside a parked car. Hughes fled the scene immediately, police said.
The Groton officers declined to be interviewed after court. Hughes was going back to Connecticut with them after his jail discharge was processed.
It was unusual for visiting police to be in court for a fugitive proceeding. Niagara County Court handles numerous fugitives from other states because of the presence of three international bridges in the county. Normally, fugitives are held without bail for up to 30 days or until police from their home jurisdiction arrive to take them.