Parole denied for man convicted of brutal 1982 murder

Crime

CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) – A man serving a life sentence for brutally murdering another man with a hammer will be staying behind bars for at least another five years.

Following a hearing Wednesday morning, the Rhode Island Parole Board unanimously denied parole for James Hughes III. Hughes – who was also denied parole in 2014 – will be eligible to go before the board for the eighth time in August of 2022, according to Parole Board Administrator Matthew Degnan.

Hughes was convicted of the 1982 murder of Howard “Zeke” Harris in Harris’ furniture store in North Kingstown. Harris caught Hughes rummaging through his desk for money and, when confronted, Hughes proceeded to beat Harris in the head with a hammer.

The victim’s granddaughter says the killing was senseless, and the sum in Harris’ desk is thought to have only been around $70.

“I do not believe that murderers can be rehabilitated,” said Kay Cutting, the victim’s daughter, in a 2011 interview. “He has a degree but it doesn’t change the person.”

Administrators cited the heinous nature of the crime and Hughes’ institutional record during past parole hearing, all of which resulted in denials.

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