That on or about June 27, 1981, in the County of Riverside, State of California, JAMES HUGHES did unlawfully conspire with John Nichols, John Paul Nichols, Glen Heggstad and other persons whose identities are unknown to commit the crime of Murder, in violation of Penal Code section 187, subdivision (a), a felony.
An atypical point in this wording is that the other persons who allegedly conspired with Hughes to murder Fred Alvarez, Ralph Boger and Patty Castro are named as co-conspirators, but they are not named as defendants. They could possibly be named as defendants in separate Felony complaints filed with the Riverside County Court but no such complaints are filed online.
The second paragraph in Count 1 reads as follows:
The object of the conspiracy was to prevent Fred Alvarez from exposing illegal activities of John Philip Nichols, occurring at the Cabazon Indian Reservation.
If John Paul Nichols and Glenn Heggstad have not been named as defendants and arrested, the question is why? Is this information also sealed? Is there a lack of evidence? Or has one or both men been granted immunity to testify against Jimmy Hughes? If the answer to any of these pertinent questions can be given in the affirmative, why hasn’t the Attorney General said so?
The complaint is also unusual in that it alleges the conspiracy involved other person whose identities are unknown. The question is….why after 28 years have these people not been identified? The fact that the Attorney General alleges people, as yet unidentified, are involved in the murder conspiracy calls out for further investigation. Therefore, even if the Warrant for Extradition is successful and a conviction of Hughes is obtained, the case may not be completely solved. It is quite possible that Jimmy Hughes himself could seek immunity to testify against one or more of the unidentified conspirators.
The final paragraph at the end of Count 1 concludes:
Thereafter, in the County of Riverside, pursuant to the above conspiracy and in furtherance of the object thereof, the following overt acts were committed:
OVERT ACT 1
On or about June 27, 1981, James Hughes asked a friend to introduce John Paul Nichols to Glenn Heggstad, for the purpose of hiring Heggstad to prevent Fred Alvarez from exposing illegal activities of John Philip Nichols, occurring at the Cabazon Indian Reservation.
OVERT ACT 2
On or about June 27, 1981, John Paul Nichols met with Glenn Heggstad, for the purpose of hiring Heggstad to prevent Fred Alvarez from exposing illegal activities of John Philip Nichols, occurring at the Cabazon Indian Reservation.
OVERT ACT 3
On June 29, 1981, James Hughes went to Fred Alvarez’s residence to prevent Fred Alvarez from exposing illegal activities of John Philip Nichols, occurring at the Cabazon Indian Reservation.
The section on Overt Acts is immediately followed by a recitation of Count 2:
That on or about June 29, 1981, in the County of Riverside, State of California, the crime of Murder, in violation of Penal Code section 187, subdivision (a), a felony, was committed by JAMES HUGHES, who did unlawfully, and with malice aforethought murder FRED ALVAREZ, a human being.
Counts 2 and 3 for Murder read in an identical fashion except that Count 2 names the victim as Patricia Castro and Count 3 names the victim as Ralph Boger.
The complaint is unusual in that it apparently skips a beat. It does not state that conspirators met to agree to have Hughes murder Alvarez. Instead it states they met to agree to prevent Alvarez from exposing illegal activities of John Philip Nichols. How they were going to achieve this end is not mentioned, but suddenly on or about two days after the co-conspirators all met, it is alleged Jimmy Hughes went to the Alvarez home and murdered Alvarez and his friends.
A criminal complaint is by its nature mere allegations, but similar complaints contain far more details. By comparison this complaint leaves countless open ended questions; so many, in fact, that it can be compared to Swiss cheese. Here are some of the questions that the media should be pursuing:
1. Who are the unidentified conspirators?
2. Who was the “friend” that Jimmy Hughes allegedly asked to introduce John Paul Nichols to Glenn Heggstad?
3. Why isn’t the “friend” named in the complaint?
4. What illegal activities was John Philip Nichols involved in that were so threatening to him that he and others would conspire to prevent Alvarez from revealing them and, by inference, to do so by ordering the murder of Fred Alvarez?
5. Did the conspirators conspire specifically to murder Fred Alvarez in order to silence him?
6. If the conspirators specifically agreed to murder Alvarez, what specifically did Jimmy Hughes get out of the agreement so that he would accept the order to kill?
7. What illegal activities of John Philip Nichols had the local, state and/or federal government known about before the conspirators met and decided it was necessary to kill, not only Alvarez, but any witnesses that were present at the time of the murder?
8. Why had the proper authorities not taken action against John Philip Nichols for the illegal acts prior to the meeting of the conspirators where they planned the execution of Fred Alvarez?
The preceding are the questions raised by the skeletal complaint filed against murder suspect/preacher Jimmy Hughes.
The manner in which the complaint was handled prior to the filing raises far more questions that also must be addressed to obtain even a glimpse of what truly happened in June of 1981. The complaint names only John Philip Nichols as the source of the illegal activities occurring at the Cabazon Indian Reservation, but what is true extent of those illegal activities and what purpose did they serve?
Virginia McCullough © 10/6/09