CLARKSVILLE, Tennessee (CLARKSVILLE NOW– Kenneth Hudspeth, the man linked by DNA evidence to a 25-year-old murder in Clarksville, was sentenced to life plus 20 years in prison on Wednesday morning.
Hudspeth, 51, was convicted by a Montgomery County jury in September of first and second degree murder in the death of Crista Bramlitt, 23, in 1996.
The case was reopened in 2019 after a DNA match, placing Hudspeth at the scene.
After four days of testimony from experts, investigators and even Hudspeth himself, he was convicted of second degree murder, first degree murder in the commission of a felony and two counts of aggravated rape. .
No testimony was presented by the state or the defense during Wednesday’s hearing.
The first to argue for sentencing was State Attorney, District Attorney General Robert Nash. He asked Judge Robert E. Lee Davies, who also presided over last year’s trial, to consider several factors for improvement.
“Number one would be that the accused has a history of criminal convictions,” Nash said.
In 1988, Hudspeth was convicted of robbery in Texas and sentenced to four years. Then, in 1990, Nash said, Hudspeth was convicted of second degree assault and battery in Arkansas, equivalent to the Tennessee aggravated assault, and he served a few years in prison before being released. conditional.
Nash then asked Davies to consider that a deadly weapon – the knife found at the scene – had been used in the crime, that he had shown no hesitation in committing the crime, that the crime was exceptionally cruel, and that the injury he had inflicted on Bramlitt was “particularly brilliant.
“And regarding the consecutive or concurrent nature of these offenses, of course, the state assumes that count one would merge with count two, and that it is a life sentence,” Nash said, while adding that counts three and four would merge, respectively carrying a 15- to 25-year prison term together.
He asked the judge to sentence Hudspeth to a maximum sentence of 15 to 25 years based on the ameliorating factors.
“Danger to society”
Hudspeth defense attorney John Parker requested that count two be merged into count one rather than considered independently, and agreed with the state to merge counts three and four.
He asked the judge to sentence Hudspeth to the lower end of the 15 to 25-year-old range on counts three and four.
The judge noted the peculiarities of the situation that made Hudspeth’s case unique.
“In this case, it is also unusual that this crime took place in 1996, as long ago, and that this trial took place in 2021. But between this period, the accused continued with blatant disregard for the law. of our society, and he is a danger to society, ”Davies said before reading his conviction.
“That’s why he got caught up in this business,” Davies continued.
On counts one and two, he sentenced Hudspeth to life in prison. The judge merged counts three and four and handed down 20 years in prison for the combined conviction. The sentences must be served consecutively.
When asked to comment on the conviction by Clarksville Now, Hudspeth’s family declined.
“I think like I said after the jury verdict, it’s nice to see justice prevail after such a long time. I think the sentence is appropriate, and I think it is the same sentence that would have been handed down had Mr. Hudspeth been apprehended in 1996, ”Nash told Clarksville Now.
But the case will be back, according to the defense.
“We will be filing a motion for a new trial and an appeal,” Parker said.