A wild sex and drug “nude party” ended in the early hours of October 26, 1989, in the death of Michael John Flannigan, 27, after he had his throat slashed. Flannigan and two other men spent several hours together in the apartment at 800 Richmond St. West belonging to one of the men, Gary Abrahms. He was found on the living room floor.
James David Hughes, 28, pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder. The men had been drinking beer, taking LSD and having sex during the night. Abrahms said Hughes woke him the next morning, demanding to be let out of the apartment that had a special lock.
After letting Hughes out, Abrahms found Flannigan in the living room and called 911. He had been hit with a blunt object before being stabbed. He had stab wounds to his chest, abdomen, neck and face, as well as having his throat slashed. Police found both a folding knife and a steak knife. In all, Flannigan was stabbed 74 times. Fifty-six of the wounds were in the area of the throat.
The trial began January 23, 1991 and lasted about two months. Flannigan’s mother sat through the entire trial.
Flannigan was a “soft spoken and gentle” unemployed cartoonist who lived in a Richmond St. West apartment. Police believe was unconscious at the time of the stabbings: they believe may have been knocked out by a two-by-four.
Hughes had an extensive criminal history going back to the age of 16 when he robbed two elderly women in their home. He had been in correctional school as early as the age of 4, and had spent only 122 days outside of prison or training schools when he killed Flannigan. He was on parole for robbery at the time of the murder. At the time of his arrest just two days after the murder, Hughes said he was acting in self-defence.
The trial began January 23, 1991 and lasted about two months. Flannigan’s mother sat through the entire trial. Abrahms said he often cruised the George St. area looking for a party, and that is where he found Hughes and Flannigan. He had met Flannigan a week earlier.
The jury deliberated only five hours before finding Hughes guilty of second-degree murder. Justice David Watt said Hughes was an “animal” during the sentencing phase, and sentenced him to life in prison without chance of parole for 25 years. “He is not fit to walk the streets with decent human beings, and shouldn’t walk them for at least 24 to 25 years.”
Murder Village Map
Name: Michael John Flannigan
Date of Death: October 26, 1989
Manner of Death: Stabbed, blunt force trauma
Location: 800 Richmond St. West
Suspect Name: James David Hughes
Conviction & Sentence: Second-degree murder, life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years