Aryion Sanders

ALTON - A May 2 trial date has been set for accused killer Aryion Sanders, who was previously convicted of first-degree murder in the shooting death of James Hubbard in an Alton housing project. He was 17 at the time of the shooting death.

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The pending trial was set after an appellate court reversed and remanded the case, asserting that a police interview was allowed as evidence, but the appellate court ruled that Sanders’ confession was coerced and Sanders had previously asserted his right to remain silent.

Before the first, trial authorities attempted to try Sanders, but the case was continued because a witness, Aryion Sanders’ younger brother, Ahmad Sanders, went missing. The first attempt at a trial was delayed and dismissed.

After the first attempt, a mis-trial was ruled in the first trial as a result of juror mis-conduct. May 2 will be the fourth time the Sanders case has been set for trial.

A hearing in advance of the pending trial was held Monday. The state argued that certain parts of Sanders’ four interrogations should be allowed in as evidence if Sanders chooses to testify on his own behalf in the pending trial.

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No ruling was made Monday, but defense attorney Celestine Dotson advised that she would object if the state tries to introduce the interview.

Sanders was interviewed four times before his first trial, telling slightly different accounts each time In two interviews, he confessed, but in one subsequent interview he said he had lied and that he confessed only to spare his brother from being arrested and put in jail, where he would be in danger.

Ahmad Sanders was located and jailed on a charge of contempt of court. He testified that he did not see the shooting and was charged with perjury. That charge was dismissed.

Another young man testified that he was with Ahmad and that he saw the killing.

Police were called to Oakwood Estates early Aug. 8, 2015, to find Hubbard’s body on the street, bleeding from four bullet wounds, including one to his head.

Sanders was sentenced to 43 years in prison on June 1, 2018. He made a statement on his own behalf during the sentencing hearing. Sanders was cited numerous times while housed in the Madison County Jail, a deputy testified.

“I gotta fight. I just can’t let the dude bully me. It’s survival of the fittest,” Sanders said. He gave a lengthy speech about why his numerous violent acts were necessary but, as an apparent afterthought, said he didn’t do the crime but was sorry it happened."

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