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Murder Suspects Are Recent Transplants from Illinois

The two men accused of gunning down another man on a Covington street in the broad daylight hours of Monday afternoon only moved to the area a few weeks ago.

Erik Tucker and Reginald Ealy shared an apartment in Florence after moving to Northern Kentucky from Illinois. Why they allegedly opened fire on Randolph "Noodles" Hughes on the 300 block of 13th Street, killing him, is not yet known.

Tucker, 23, and Ealy, 22, pleaded not guilty Tuesday morning in Kenton District Court. They return to the courtroom next week for a preliminary hearing. Each is being held without bond at the Kenton County Detention Center. They are both charged with murder.

Covington Police Chief Spike Jones and Kenton County Commonwealth's Attorney Rob Sanders spoke to the local media about the case on Tuesday afternoon.

"The motive is probably the biggest unanswered question," Sanders said. "We have some theories but detectives are tracking down the theories to verify which is accurate."

What is known is that the pair lived together, had Kentucky identification, and Kentucky tags on a recently purchased vehicle, a vehicle that Sanders and Jones said had become familiar to residents of Covington's Eastside, where Hughes was killed. Bullets were fired from the vehicle, striking Highes in the arm and the chest. He died shortly after arriving at University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

Within twenty minutes, police had tracked the suspects' vehicle to Florence and arrested them. Jones credited the neighbors, who provided suspect information and details about the vehicle, with the swift arrests. "They did exactly what we asked them to do," Jones said. "This type of situation doesn't make e proud at all. What I am reassured by, more than anything, is that our residents agree that this isn't something that will be tolerated in our neighborhoods."

Ealy was the target of an investigation in Indiana more than three years ago when he and another man were accused of forcing a woman to drive them to Illinois where they allegedly burglarized her apartment over two days. Ealy, who was 19 and listed as a resident of Demossville, Ky. at the time, faced battery and confinement charges, according to a 2011 article in the Chicago Sun-Times.

Sanders said that detectives are evaluating the past of both suspects.

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Story & photos by Michael Monks, editor & publisher of The River City News