William Patrick Hudson Guilty In Tennessee Colony Murders

CONVICTED -- William Patrick Hudson convicted of Tennessee Colony Murders.

William Patrick Hudson was found guilty of murder by a Brazos County jury Thursday, November 9th, in a district court in Bryan. After hearing several days of testimony, the jury took only 17 minutes to render the guilty verdict. As of press time, the same jury is still in the process of hearing from witnesses for the punishment phase of the trial. The jury must decide on death by lethal injection or life in prison for Hudson.

The Honorable District Judge Mark Calhoun presided. Anderson County District Attorney Allyson Mitchell and Attorney Lisa Tanner of the State Attorney General Office are prosecuting the case against Hudson who was charged with six murders. This trial is a capital murder case for three of those murders.

Hudson was charged with and convicted of three of the murders of victims Carl Johnson, 76; his daughter, Hannah Johnson, 40; his grandson, Kade Johnson, 6; Thomas Kamp, 45; and Kamp?s sons, Nathan Kamp, 23; and Austin Kamp, 21. All were killed in a vicious attack on the night of November 14, 2015. All died of gunshot wounds except Hannah who died of blunt force trauma.

The grizzly scene took place on an area of land long known as ?Hudson Land? in Tennessee Colony near Palestine. Hudson, who was arrested the day after the murders, was 35 years old when the trial began last week. He has been held in the Anderson County Jail since his arrest.

Attorneys for Hudson, Steven Evans and Jeff Herrington, requested a change in venue for the trial to ensure the selection of a fair and impartial jury. The judge granted the request, and the trial proceedings were moved to Brazos County. Hudson had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, but just before the trial began, withdrew the insanity part of the plea.

Attorney Mitchell began the trial by letting the jury and audience hear the 911 call made by Cynthia Johnson, 65, the lone survivor of the attack. Johnson, who survived the murders of her husband, Carl, daughter, Hannah, and grandson, Kade, used Hannah?s cellphone to make the call as she still hid in terror near the campsite where two of the murders took place.

In a whispered voice, Cynthia tells the dispatcher, ?Someone has just killed my husband and daughter. Could you send someone now?? Cynthia remained hidden in the dark that cold, rainy night as she waited for help because she did not know the whereabouts of the assailant.

In another surprising move on the first day of trial, the defense offered no opening statement. Instead, the trial moved quickly into the prosecution?s case. A total of 8 witnesses were called by the prosecution over the next several days. The defense called no witnesses.

While the prosecution team presented a large amount of evidence in testimony, physical evidence, and DNA, the defense presented none. The defense gave only brief remarks in closing. The defense instead called witnesses in the sentencing phase of the trial which followed the guilty verdict.

Details of the crime:

The Tennessee Colony area known as ?Hudson Land? has belonged to the Hudson family since 1859. William Hudson had grown up on property his father, Mac Hudson, had inherited from his (Mac?s) father. In 2014, one of the Hudson heirs decided to sell a piece of the property she inherited.

Hudson objected to the sell of the family property, but did not try to buy it himself. It was eventually sold in early 2015 to Thomas Kamp who was a distant cousin of the Hudson family. The land that was sold to Kamp is adjacent to the property that William Hudson was still living on with his mother at the time of the murders. Mac Hudson (father of William) died in 2014.

According to testimony given by Cynthia Johnson, the sole survivor, she, her husband, Carl, their daughter Hannah, and grandson Kade, all arrived at the property now owned by Thomas Kamp on November 14. Kamp had invited the Johnson?s to camp with them overnight on the property. While getting to the property, the Johnsons got their Airstream travel trailer stuck in mud. William Hudson came along and helped them get the vehicle free.

Hudson refused to be paid for his troubles to help the Johnson family, but did ask to join them and have a beer. So, the Johnson?s brought Hudson with them to join Thomas, Nathan, and Austin Kamp. The group visited and drank beer until dark.

Cynthia said that during the evening, it was mentioned that the Johnson?s had had to cut a lock to get onto the property. Hudson grew very agitated with their cutting the lock claiming they had disrespected the previous owners, disrespected the Hudson?s who had owned the land. Cynthia said her husband calmed Hudson down, and asked him, ?Aren?t we friends now??

Later, Hudson, the three Kamp men and young Kade Johnson, 6 years old, went into the woods together to find firewood for the camp. Cynthia, Carl, and Hannah stayed at the camp near the trailer. During that time, Cynthia said they heard two rounds of gunfire. They dismissed the gunshots as the men shooting at squirrels perhaps. At the time, hearing gunshots in East Texas woods did not sound unusual.

After about an hour, Hudson returned alone, riding on one of the ATV?s. The Johnson?s asked, ?Where are the others?? But Hudson remained silent. Hannah noticed what looked like blood on the ATV, and screamed for her father. Hudson then fired his shotgun twice, hitting Carl in the hip and legs. Hannah ran inside the trailer and Carl was on the steps of the trailer. Cynthia hid behind some chairs at the campsite.

Cynthia testified that she heard Hudson hitting and striking Hannah and Carl. She said Carl called for her saying, ?Cindy, I need you. Help me.? But she said she knew she could not help, and if she could hide, she would be able to help hold Hudson accountable for what he was doing.

Cynthia also said she heard her husband ask Hudson, ?Why are you doing this? I thought I was your friend?? And she heard Hudson respond, ?You think that it?s funny now??

Cynthia described Hudson coming out of the trailer at one point and vomiting heavily. Then he walked toward her, and Cynthia said she was sure she would be the next victim, but instead he stopped at a cooler, got a bottle of beer, and drank it. Then he went back into the trailer and she heard more sounds that she thought were his hitting her daughter and husband.

At some point, Cynthia said she must have gone to sleep because she woke with ants biting the side of her face. She got up and found Hannah?s cellphone on the ground. She walked into some woods and called 911 for help. She did not know where Hudson was.

Investigators and DNA experts also testified. The jury was shown at least 100 pictures of the crime scene and items of evidence. They saw pictures of the bodies of the three Kamp men and the young Johnson boy immediately after they had been pulled out of the lake. All four had died, according to the experts, of gunshot wounds. Other pictures shown were guns registered to Kamp and the automobile owned by Hannah that were all found in the possession of Hudson at the time of his arrest.

The lawyers for Hudson, offered virtually no defense for Hudson and made only a brief closing statement. The defense instead chose to focus on the punishment phase and attempt to save their client from the death penalty.

To begin the punishment phase of the trial, the prosecution called to the stand an ex-wife of Hudson?s and then an ex-girlfriend of Hudson?s. Both had similar stories to tell of Hudson?s violent temper, threats, and physical abuse. Both had had guns pointed at them by Hudson. Both said Hudson?s personality changed, and he became more agitated and easy to anger when he was drinking. And, according to testimony, Hudson drank regularly.

Also called to testify was Chrystal Hudson, the mother of William Hudson. She described her son as a good and normal young boy, but grew to have troubles and conflicts as a teenager and then young adult. He fought with his father. On a couple of occasions, Chrystal sought help for her son with mental health authorities, but failed to be able to have him committed for any length of time.

Chrystal said that her husband Mac had been a heavy drinker and was abusive with her and their children. She also said that their children were permitted to drink at a young age.

Chrystal said William became more angry and more easily agitated following a serious auto accident he was in a few months before the murders. Chrystal had had to call the police on a couple of occasions when she feared for her life under the abuse of her son. She had called the police to her home just five days before the murders. At that time police had to order William to put down a shotgun he was holding when they arrived.

However, she said, she was afraid to pursue charges because she did not think that her son would be held long in the jail, and when he came home again, he would retaliate against her.

After his arrest and during the two years he has been in the Anderson County Jail following his arrest for the six murders, he talked to Crystal many times on the jail house phone. The jurors heard recordings of a few of those calls and the calls Hudson had with his ex-girlfriend. In one of the calls, Hudson is heard blaming the victims. ?It was their own fault,? said Hudson. ?They gave me the beer and got me drunk.?

Chrystal Hudson finished her testimony by saying that life had been unfair. She said she felt very sad for the families who had lost loved ones, and she prayed for the Johnsons and the Kamps. She also asked the two families to pray for her family.

The punishment phase of the trial is expected to conclude this week. Hudson will be sentenced to death by lethal injection or life in prison.