By Virginia McCullough



Evangelist Jimmy Hughes was arrested on September 26, 2009 as he sat with his wife aboard an American Airlines plane awaiting take off that would have taken him to Honduras where the couple operated The Jimmy Hughes Ministries Children’s Home. 


The State of Florida retained James George Hughes on a complaint prepared by California Deputy Attorney General Michael Murphy based on an investigation conducted by Riverside County Sheriff Homicide Unit, Cold Case Division Detective John M. Powers.  The charges addressed a triple execution historically known as The Alvarez Executions that occurred in June of 1981.  (10/6/09 Attorney General Jerry Brown's felony complaint against Jimmy Hughes )

Deputy AG Murphy’s complaint resulted in Jimmy Hughes fighting extradition from Florida to face the charges in California.  This triggered a request by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to Florida Governor Charlie Crist that Governor Crist issue a Governor’s warrant requiring the extradition of Jimmy Hughes to California.


Media publicity since Hughes’ arrest has centered on the strange partnership formed between Riverside County Sheriff Cold Case Detective Powers and a woman who identifies herself as the daughter of one of the people killed in the backyard of  Fred Alvarez’s home, Fred Boger.  The woman is Rachel Begley who uses the internet handle Desertfae (  On October 2, 2009 Desertfae wrote an article entitled Jimmy Hughes Arrested on Murder Charges: 1981 Triple Homicide and posted it to the web.  She discusses her alliance with Detective Powers in the following paragraphs:

Detective John Powers at the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in California, Central Homicide Unit – Cold Case Division, was assigned  to investigate the 28-year-old triple homicide case about 2 years ago when Rachel Begley, the daughter of victim Ralph Boger, convinced the sheriff’s department to re-open the case.

Both Powers and Begley were aware of what they were stepping into when they launched their investigations.  Today, their respective findings resemble the stuff of spy novels, comprised of all the dynamics of clandestine government agents and organized crime figures involved in murder, money laundering and covert arms deals while exploiting Indian sovereignty (independent of most U.S. laws) at the Cabazon reservation…… 

Meanwhile, Detective John Powers, with the full support and backing of the Riverside Sheriff, relentlessly followed the cold-case trail from 1981 to the present, examining thousands of old documents across the state, resurrecting  police reports from forgotten archives (which were not computerized 28 years ago), and interviewing dozens of hostile witnesses who feared to come forward in 1981.

Ultimately, Powers formed a secret investigative alliance with Begley, a computer whiz, and their work came to fruition last week when Detective Powers was notified by authorities in Miami, Florida that Jimmy Hughes was in the U.S. and preparing to depart for Honduras.

Det. Powers is currently in the process of getting the Governor's Warrant to have Jimmy Hughes brought back to California.  He filed a Felony Complaint for Extradition in Indio Court on October 1, case number INF-066719. 

This partnership is elaborated on by Detective Powers in an article entitled Daughter’s Work Helps Break Triple Homicide Case by Monica Torline and Kate McGinty in the October 18, 2009 issue of The Desert Sun.


         She managed to find documents and people tied to the case that no one else ever uncovered, said Riverside County sheriff's Det. John Powers, lead investigator on the case.

"Rachel uncovered a lot more that we didn't know about,” Powers said, declining to elaborate further on what new evidence surfaced. “She's very tenacious.”….  

Begley's independent investigation has been critical to today's case, Powers said.
People across the country have found her blog and personal videos online and reached out to her. Even relatives of Alvarez and Castro have contacted her through her site.

Begley became an information broker of sorts, getting some people to trust her enough to introduce them to Powers. He's met about a dozen of Begley's sources from across the nation who have ties to or a deeper knowledge of the case.

Powers considers her a partner in their ongoing work.

And their partnership isn't over yet, said Begley, who lives with her husband and four children outside Louisville.

“I've got the answers I was looking for, but it's more than that now. It's more of a moral issue,” she said.

“I think it comes down to my dad and friend (Fred) always telling me to do the right thing. I've got all this information, so I want to make sure something comes of it, something meaningful.”

On November 6, 2009 Rachel Begley issued a new press release entitled Florida Governor Charlie Crist's Office Stalls On Extradition of Jimmy Hughes Arrested on Murder Charges: “Octopus Murders.

The following are excerpts from that press release: 

Hughes has been held at Miami-Dade Metro West Detention Center since his arrest on 09/26/09. The extradition process involves a Governors Warrant being sent from the State of California to the office of Charlie Crist, Governor of Florida. During the time that the paperwork is being completed, Hughes is required to have a hearing approximately every 30 days. The State of Florida can hold Hughes up to 90 days while the paperwork is being completed, after which time, they reportedly must release him.

Upon learning the news of the second delay, Rachel Begley decided to take action to find the reason for the delay. During the course of the day, she was able to confirm that Governor Charlie Crist's Office has had the completed paperwork in their possession for over two weeks. She made multiple calls, left multiple voice mails, sent emails, and faxes to attempt to speed up the extradition of Jimmy Hughes.

Monica Torline of The Desert Sun wrote today, “Once we issue the warrant we are not involved in the extradition process as it moves through the court system,” Florida press secretary Sterling Ivey told The Desert Sun by e-mail Friday. Officials in the extradition unit of the Miami Dade County State Attorney's Office said in most cases, the governor's warrant is filed with the court during an extradition hearing.”

This extradition hearing has yet to take place. One must wonder how long the delays and stalling will take place. Will Jimmy Hughes be released due to the State of Florida's stalling techniques or a technicality?

This reporter requested information from the Miami-Dade County Police Department, Warrants Division to clarify the timing of the Governor’s warrant requesting the extradition of murder suspect Jimmy Hughes in order to determine whether the process has been affected by the politics alleged in the Begley press release.  The following is that request:

From: Virginia [email protected] Sent: Wednesday, November 11, 2009 11:14 AM
To: [email protected]

Subject: FW: Governor's Warrant on Hughes

Thank you for your time this morning. The email below and the attachments were kindly supplied to me by Ed Griffith, Miami SAO.  It involves a request for extradition from Calif. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to Florida Gov. Charlie Crist for James George Hughes

The first document you pull up on the attachment is a cover letter from Gov. Crist’s Extradition Coordinator

Susan L. Smith.  It is addressed to the Warrants Division of your department and it is dated Friday, October 16, 2009.  I am told that Gov. Crist received Gov. Schwarzenegger’s request for extradition on October 15, 2009 which then indicates a one-day turn around.  However, the Warrants Division stamp indicates it was not received until October 22, 2009.  I am assuming that the letter did not get mailed until the evening of the 16th and was in transit on Saturday, the 17th.  Therefore it was apparently received on the fourth working day after mailing.

My question is whether on not this time frame for mail between the Governor’s office and the Warrant Division is typical and, if not, could you supply an explanation for anything that might have been unusual about this particular request for extradition.

The following response was received:

Good afternoon Ms. McCullough:

In regards to your request, the Miami-Dade Police Department, Warrants Bureau has provided the following information;

Governor Crist signed the warrant on 10/16/09 (Friday); however, we do not know when it was put in the mail by the Governor's Office.   It was received at our mailroom on 10/21/09, then processed and delivered to the Warrants Bureau on 10/22/09 and served on 10/23/09.  In my opinion, there was not any unusual time delay in receiving the Governor's warrant.  On the contrary, California had up to 90 days to perfect the Governor's warrant.  Governor's warrant was received and served within 30 days.

Subject is presently in custody/no bond.  His attorney has requested a continuance in order to review the warrant, which is customary.  The 90 day time restraint is no longer a factor, once the subject has been served. 

Below is the clerk's docket screen:

PAGE:     1
CASE NO: F09031832                                                            
DEFENDANT: HUGHES                          JAMES         GEORGE   
 0006  11/06/2009  EXTRADITION HEARING SCHEDULED FOR 11/20/2009 AT 09:00
 0003  10/23/2009  EXTRADITION HEARING SCHEDULED FOR 11/06/2009 AT 09:00
 0001  10/22/2009  EXTRADITION HEARING SCHEDULED FOR 10/23/2009 AT 09:00

The Alvarez executions have been on the shelf of the Riverside Sheriff and District Attorney’s office for the past 28 years.  A complaint has finally been filed charging that James George Hughes was the hit man in these executions.  If the integrity of the investigation and  prosecution are not strictly maintained, a conviction or convictions in this triple execution might never be achieved.  It is vital that politics not be allowed to enter this judicial arena and that the potential jury pool in Riverside not be contaminated by inaccuracies posted to the Internet prior to trial.

Virginia McCullough © 11/16/09