For those who enjoy the great outdoors, there are few things better than sharing the peace and quiet of the woods with your family. For those with their own land, it’s even nicer when you’ve got land of your own to go camping on.
That’s what one man had in mind when he purchased some land in East Texas for weekend family camping trips. What he couldn’t have anticipated is how one of his new neighbors would react…
When Thomas Kamp purchased a rural tract of land in East Texas, it was because it was peaceful and remote. An outdoorsy type, Thomas intended to use the land for weekend camping trips with his girlfriend Hannah and her 6-year-old son, Kade.
It would also serve as a place to gather for their families. Thomas’ four sons from his first marriage lived with their mother in California. He intended for them to come and visit and for Hannah’s elderly parents Cynthia and Carl all to visit together…
As Good As Expected
Thomas’ purchase turned out to be a great investment. Since buying the 14 acres of land in August, the family had visited pretty much twice a month to enjoy the peace and quiet of the countryside and to enjoy each other’s company.
But not everyone was happy about Thomas’ purchase. Thomas had bought the land for just under $30,000 from the Lucille H Woolverton Living Trust with Bonnie Woolverton as the trustee. But a man named William Hudson lived on the land adjacent to the 14 acres, and he believed that land belonged to him…
The Hudson and Woolverton families had a long history of marrying into one another. While the land technically had belonged to the Woolvertons, that land had been commonly regarded as part of the Hudson family’s property.
Hudson was angry about the transaction. He believed the land was rightfully his after his father died earlier in the year. To make matters worse in his eyes, Thomas had put up a gate and made the land private, stopping Hudson from roaming through the countryside, which was how he spent his free time…
Regardless of the tension with their neighbors, Thomas and his family continued their camping trips. In fact, one weekend in November was a bigger trip than usual. In addition to Hannah’s son Kade, the couple had taken their RV and brought along Hannah’s parents, Carl and Cynthia. Thomas’ adult sons Austin and Nathan also made the trip out from California to celebrate Nathan’s 24th birthday in the idyllic countryside.
When they saw Hudson approaching them riding an orange tractor, there was likely some tension in the air. But instead of starting an argument or some kind of altercation, Hudson was friendly. In fact, he used his tractor to help pull a truck from the mud. When Thomas offered to pay him some money for his help, Hudson indicated that he wanted something else instead…
Let’s Have a Beer
Hudson said that instead of payment, he would prefer if Thomas and his family would share some beers with him. Feeling good after the drinks, Hudson piled onto Thomas’ all terrain vehicle along with Thomas, his two sons, and the 6-year-old Kade as they went off into the woods to search for firewood.
Shortly after they left Cynthia, Carl, and Hannah could hear gunshots coming from the woods. They didn’t think much of it, assuming that the group was hunting squirrels. They were gone for much longer than expected, to the point where the trio at the campsite stopped waiting for them to eat their dinner of hamburgers and baked beans…
Out of Ammo
When hudson came back alone, shotgun in hand, Hanna reacted first, screaming “daddy!” at her father Carl before running into the RV. Hudson fired two shots, barely missing Hannah and hitting Carl in the hip as he was running toward the RV. Out of ammunition, Hudson started beating Carl to death as his body lay just inside the RV door.
Hit The Dirt
Cynthia immediately dropped to the ground and hid in the darkness of the night. Her husband screamed for her help but she knew there was nothing she could do. “I just was wondering what I could do, but knowing [Hudson] was in there,” she said…
When he was done beating Carl to death, he did the same to Hannah, using his shotgun like a club. In the cold air under a waning crescent moon, Cynthia hid, forced to hear the sounds of her husband and daughter’s cries of anguish as they were brutally killed.
Cynthia hid until the sun rose the next morning. When it did, she picked up the cell phone Hannah dropped when she ran into the RV the night before. Fearful that Hudson may still be around, Cynthia ran off into the woods to call the police…
The Anderson County Sheriff’s Office dispatched officers as fast as possible to the scene. When they arrived, they found Carl and Hannah’s bodies where Hudson had killed them. After searching the area, police found Hudson’s tractor, which had “visible bloodstains” on it.
They found Hudson at his mother’s home nearby. Police speaking to him through the door of the home noted that he had bloodstains on his shirt. Hudson was uncooperative and, rather than allow police into the home as their warrant allowed, Hudson barricaded himself inside. Police surrounded the property until Hudson eventually surrendered…
The Other Bodies
It wasn’t until the next day that police were able to locate the bodies of Thomas, Kade, Austin, and Nathan. While searching the Hudson family property, they pulled their bodies from the pond half a mile away from the home.
Charged with the six brutal murders, Hudson’s lawyers tried to establish an insanity defense for him. They called mental health experts to testify that said Hudson had suffered brain damage from multiple seizures at various points in his life. He’d also sustained head injuries in two car accidents and compensated for a “Cluster B” personality disorder by consuming massive amounts of alcohol…
But mental health experts called by prosecutors countered that while Hudson did have a personality disorder, he did not have a mental illness. The insanity defense was ultimately withdrawn and, due to the overwhelming physical evidence and the testimony of Cynthia, Hudson was found guilty.
No Time At All
The sentencing portion of the trial didn’t start until nearly 2 years after the murders, the jury wasted no time in reaching a decision. They took less than an hour to sentence William Hudson to death.