RACINE, WV (WOWK) — The killing of 22-year old Ashley Goad has community members shocked since suspect Mitchell Hughes is no stranger to violent and deadly crimes.
The Smith family had their own separate and fatal tragedy back in 2017 involving Mitchell Hughes, and they say news of Ashley Goad’s murder on Monday made them re-live it all over again.
As the sun shone Tuesday at John Slack Park, the Smith family and children played and laughed, but they carry a huge loss: that of their father, James Andrew Smith, known affectionately as “Gumby.”
“He’s the best guy anyone can ask for, he loved his kids, very much,” said Smith’s ex-wife Tanya Smith, and his sister Sarah Kingery.
Smith died in 2017 of his injuries after being run over by Mitchell Hughes on Toneys Branch Road in Boone County.
“It was over a truck and a girl,” said Tanya Smith.
While his sister and ex-wife firmly believe Hughes intentionally ran over Smith, the jury at the trial was hung, and Mitchell Hughes was charged with involuntary manslaughter.
He served nine months.
Although the death of Smith was in 2017, the trial kept getting delayed, and it was held just last year.
The family still feels the court system failed them.
“I don’t understand it, I don’t,” said Smith’s mother-in-law.
This is why the death of 22-year-old Ashley Goad and her unborn child hit the family so hard when they heard Mitchell Hughes was involved.
“My heart hurts for this family, my heart aches too, it shouldn’t have happened, it shouldn’t if he would’ve been locked up… none of this would’ve happened,” they said.
Smith’s sister and his ex-wife, say Mitchell Hughes continued committing criminal offenses after the death of Smith, and he kept getting out on personal recognizance bonds per public records at the Boone County courthouse.
They now hope this will be the end of that.
“I hope the Goad family gets the justice that they deserve.”
“I hope the justice system does right this time.”