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Desert Hot Springs man expected to get life in prison for 1994 murder

Published On: Jul 17 2013 09:55:10 AM CDT
INDIO -

 A Desert Hot Springs man convicted of taking part in a shooting that killed a 17-year-old boy and wounded the teen's friend in 1994 is scheduled to be sentenced today to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

 Ian Davis Hudgins, 36, was found guilty on May 30 of one count each of
first-degree murder and attempted murder, along with gang activity
enhancements, and jurors also found true a special circumstance allegation of
lying in wait.

Authorities said Hudgins drove two gang members to Wardman Park in
Desert Hot Springs, where they killed Jahi Collins and wounded his friend,
Bobby Wilson, while they sat in a car on Dec. 21, 1994.

Deputy District Attorney Pete Nolan said during the trial in May that
Collins' family has ``waited for justice'' for 19 years. He told the jurors
there was only one issue for them to consider.

``Did Ian Hudgins drive Emilio Avalos and Sergio Padilla to that park
where they committed that murder? ... If you believe he did do that, he's
guilty, plain and simple.''

Avalos was convicted in Collins' murder last year and is on death row
for killing 20-year-old Marine Cpl. Henry Lozano in Desert Hot Springs in 2001.
Padilla has been charged in Collins' death.

Nolan said in closing arguments that Avalos and Collins had fought at
Palm Springs High School a few weeks earlier and that Collins had prevailed.
The park where he was killed was in the territory of the West Drive Locos, a
Desert Hot Springs gang that Avalos had helped start, according to Nolan.

``He was in Wardman Park,'' Nolan said of Hudgins. ``He was the person
who backed up Emilio and Sergio.''

Defense attorney Naomi Coady argued in vain that ``there is absolutely no physical evidence connecting Ian Hudgins to this crime.'' She said the prosecution failed to prove her client knew Padilla and Avalos intended to commit the slaying.