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No bail in 2011 shooting death of man taking cigarette break

Staff report

3:05 PM CST, March 2, 2013

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A judge denied bail today for a 21-year-old man charged in the July 2011 shooting death of an employee taking a cigarette break from his job at a South Side barbecue restaurant.

Michael Pryor, of the 200 block of West Swann Street in the South Side's Fuller Park neighborhood, is charged with first-degree murder.

About 9 p.m. on July 11, 2011 Joshua Hudgins, 34, of the 4900 block of South Champlain Avenue, was fatally shot as he took a break from his job as night manager/head cook at Alice's-Bar-B-Que, 65 East 43rd Street in Bronzeville, to smoke a cigarette, according to published reports at the time.

Hudgins, a single dad with a young son and daughter, was believed to be an innocent victim of the crime, police and witnesses said then. A person firing from a passing light-colored car had shot at a "little gangbanger" who was walking by the restaurant, friends who were with Hudgins outside the restaurant said, and hit Hudgins in the chest.

Hudgins was pronounced dead at 9:45 p.m. July 12, 2011, at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, according to Cook County medical examiner records.

An assistant state's attorney during today's bond hearing said Pryor was a passenger in a Chevy Impala that drove by Alice's-Bar-B-Que and he fired at Hudgins, who was standing outside the restaurant.

Pryor extended his arm and fired the gun five to six times, the prosecutor said, with one bullet hitting Hudgins in the chest and two others grazing his body.

Pryor was positively identified as the shooter by two witnesses, both in a photo array and a physical line-up, the assistant state's attorney said.

According to the prosecutor, Pryor already has pending charges for unlawful use of a weapon and possession of a stolen firearm.

When asking for bail, an assistant public defender pointed out to the judge that Pryor uses a wheelchair and has to take medication, but did not specify why. The judge ordered Pryor held without bail.

Pryor's next court date is March 5.

Tribune reporter Bridget Doyle contributed.

chicagobreaking@tribune.com

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