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Charges: Suspect shot man, strangled toddler at St. Louis home

Police said the suspect admitted to the murders in a recorded interview.

ST. LOUIS — A suspect has been charged in the killings of a 60-year-man and a 3-year-old girl earlier this week in St. Louis.

The St. Louis Circuit Attorney's Office on Saturday charged Henry Hughes, 55, of St. Louis with two counts of first-degree murder, armed criminal action, first-degree robbery, first-degree burglary and unlawful possession of a firearm by a dangerous felon.

Octavia Williams, 3, and Tommy Williams, 60, were found dead Thursday evening in a home on the 5100 block of Pennsylvania Avenue. Tommy Williams was found shot in the back in the basement. Octavia was found upstairs and had been strangled.

According to a probable cause statement, following witness interviews and further investigation, police determined Hughes to be responsible for their deaths. 

Hughes was arrested while driving a vehicle that belonged to Tommy Williams. 

During a recorded interview, Hughes admitted he had followed Williams to the basement and shot him in the back, and then took his car keys from his pockets, the probable cause statement said. He then said he went upstairs into the apartment and strangled Octavia. He took several items from the apartment and then left in Williams' car.

A search of Hughes' home found a handgun in a closet, police said.

Police have not shared a motive or the connection between the suspect and the victims.

Angie Quick is still wondering what could have led to this.

Quick is friends with Jestine Woolson, who's the mother and girlfriend of the victims.

"I originally met her, she came to pick up some stuff that I was getting rid of on Craigslist, and she gave me her card saying she was a handy woman, and I had her look at some stuff for me," Quick said. 

Since then, the two have been working alongside each other and became friends. 

Quick said, Octavia celebrated Halloween at her home, and she gave her presents for Christmas.

That's when she said that was the last time, she saw the 3-year-old.

"It’s so tragic, a young life like that with so much hope and promise. Octavia was just the cutest little thing. It’s beyond comprehension to me how anyone can harm a child?" she said.

On Thursday, Quick said she was even with Woolson. 

She shared, she gave Woolson a ride home and once she dropped her off, she quickly received a call. 

"She was basically saying 911...911 please help everybody is dead. She said she found her little girl and her boyfriend dead," Quick shared. 

Since then, Quick told 5 On Your Side her friend is barely hanging on. 

"She lost her boyfriend, her daughter, and her place to live because she can’t afford it and doesn’t want to live there anymore," Quick added. "She was struggling before and now this, she definitely deserves the help."

Nicole Breiner beams with joy every time she looks at the precious pictures of her baby sister, Octavia Williams.

"It just makes me want to pinch those chubby cheeks. She was a happy, go-lucky three-year-old," said Breiner.

She says her little sister was truly her daddy's little girl.

Everywhere Tommy Williams went, Octavia was right behind him.

"She would help him with everything around the house like mopping the floors or washing the car because she would do that with Tommy. She also loved making cupcakes with my mother. Tommy was so in love with that little girl. Tommy was also very kindhearted. He would give you the shirt off his back and help anybody," said Breiner.

Now, family, friends and neighbors cannot believe what happened to the inseparable duo.

"I got a message from my mother. I ran to my laundry room and burst into tears," recalled Breiner.

Breiner says her mom and sister arrived home and found her mother's 60-year-old fiancé dead in the family's basement.

Nicole says officers discovered Octavia upstairs on her mom's bed. She'd been strangled.

"My mom cannot stop crying when she thinks what happened to both of them. It makes me angry and sick to my stomach. I cannot wrap my head around it. We just keep wondering why?" said Breiner.

"Speaking as a family, I don't think that's relieving anything. We are all in shock. It's horrible," said Nicole Breiner.

Family members are now planning a funeral for Tommy Williams and his little girl.

If you'd like to donate, click here.

As for the suspect, Hughes was being held Saturday at the St. Louis City Justice Center with no bond allowed.

Hughes was previously convicted of the felony of forcible rape in 1989, according to court documents.

Credit: St. Louis City Justice Center
Henry Hughes

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