Former North Carolina Firefighter Pleads No Contest to 911 Charges

HIGH POINT, N.C. (AP) -- A former High Point firefighter pleaded no contest to charges that he placed false 911 calls so he could take money from fire stations while fire crews were out.

Randy Hughes, 37, said after the hearing that he maintains his innocence. He said he agreed to an Alford plea to allow his wife, Heather Lynn Hughes, 34, who was also charged in the incident, to get separate drug-related charges consolidated into the plea agreement.

An Alford plea is an acknowledgment that prosecutors have enough information to win a conviction, but allows the accused to not admit guilt.

The couple was given a prayer for judgment in sentencing and ordered to pay court fees within 30 days.

Brian Goldsborough, an assistant district attorney, said the Hugheses are making restitution.

The couple initially were charged with making false 911 calls over a single weekend last October, a misdemeanor.

Firefighters at three stations reported thefts after returning from the calls in October. A key was used to enter each fire station, investigators said.

Days after the initial charges, Randy Hughes was charged with three misdemeanor counts of larceny and Heather Hughes was charged with two.

Randy Hughes, who had been a firefighter for four years and worked at one of the three stations, resigned shortly after the charges were filed. On Nov. 11, Heather Hughes was charged with loitering for drug activity, possession of drug paraphernalia, and possession of schedule VI controlled substance, or marijuana.

She pleaded guilty to those charges and the larceny and making false 911 calls in court Thursday.