Cleo Hughes
Cleo Hughes was murdered by niece.

A state appeals court panel Tuesday upheld a woman’s conviction for the financially motivated shooting death of her 79-year-old aunt, who was the mother of a Los Angeles Police Department training officer.

The three-justice panel from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal rejected the defense’s contention that there were errors in Barbara Jean Davenport’s trial in Los Angeles Superior Court.

Davenport was found guilty in September 2015 of first-degree murder and robbery for the June 2, 2012, killing of Cleo Hughes. Jurors also found true the special circumstance allegation that Hughes was murdered during the commission of a robbery.

The victim’s son drove to his mother’s house to check on her after not being able to reach her by telephone, and found her in her bedroom, where she had been shot once in the chest.

Davenport was charged the following month with her aunt’s murder.

The appellate court panel noted that the victim managed a family-owned restaurant and kept money in the house, which was missing. The defendant — who was homeless and unemployed — went on a gambling and spending spree around the time of the killing, according to the 28-page ruling.

Superior Court Judge James R. Dabney sentenced Davenport to life in prison without the possibility of parole in October 2015. He said then that she abused “a position of trust” and that the victim was “elderly,” of “slight stature” and “particularly vulnerable.”

–City News Service 

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