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Man charged with 2009 murder of man found shot to death in trunk

A Dolton man is charged with the murder of a Mississippi man found shot to death in the trunk of a car on Chicago’s South Side more than six years ago.

Tracey Hughes made four “frantic” 911 calls in the early morning hours of Jan. 11, 2009, telling an operator he was trapped in the trunk of a moving car and asking authorities to trace his call, Assistant State’s Attorney Barry Quinn said at a bond hearing Thursday.

He told the 911 operator that David Johnson and Johnson’s cousin — who has not yet been charged in the case — took him, and that he had been robbed and shot three times, prosecutors said.

Hughes, 34, would move drugs for the cousin, and all three men knew each other from Mississippi, prosecutors said.

Authorities found the car later that morning in the 8900 block of South Aberdeen, after a man walking his dog saw blood dripping from the trunk, prosecutors said.

Hughes, of Southhaven, Miss., was found dead in the trunk with gunshot wounds to the head, back and arm, authorities said.

The day before the murder, Hughes headed to the cousin’s home in Dolton, driving a white Hyundai that the cousin had rented the month before, prosecutors claim.

Hughes picked up a friend and headed to the Horseshoe Casino, where cameras inside caught Hughes “flashing a large amount of cash” at gambling tables, prosecutors said.

He was last seen driving the cousin’s rental car later that night, prosecutors said. The cousin later arranged for someone to pick the vehicle up from an oasis on I-80 and return it to Midway Airport.

The day of the murder, Johnson and the cousin made several phone calls to each other, and witnesses saw Johnson at the cousin’s house that night and into the early morning hours right before the kidnapping and murder, prosecutors said.

A relative also told police that, on the day before the slaying, the cousin mentioned Hughes having stolen $30,000 from his house, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors also claim that after the murder, the cousin contacted Hughes’ wife and told her to pick up some of his duffel bags from his home, prosecutors said. Authorities later found more of the victim’s property during a search of the residence.

Authorities found a kit cap in the center console of the vehicle where Hughes was found dead. Testing found three different DNA profiles on the cap, and could not rule out that Johnson’s was among them.

Johnson, 41, of the 500 block of East 146th Street in Dolton, is charged with first-degree murder in the case, court records show.

Judge Peggy Chiampas ordered him held on a $1 million bond Thursday, and he will next appear in court March 10 for a preliminary hearing. The other suspect had not been charged as of Thursday afternoon.