BRYAN, Texas – A man was sentenced to death Wednesday for a rampage that left six people dead at a remote East Texas campsite.
A Brazos County jury deliberated about 45 minutes before deciding William Hudson, 35, of Tennessee Colony, should face execution. The same jury found him guilty last week on three counts of capital murder in the 2015 shooting and beating deaths of 77-year-old Carl Johnson, 40-year-old Hannah Johnson, 45-year-old Thomas Kamp, 23-year-old Nathan Kamp, 21-year-old Austin Kamp and 6-year-old Kade Johnson.
The verdict on a punishment comes exactly two years after Hudson’s arrest, which was on Nov. 15, 2015.
Evidence showed the victims were part of a blended family that gathered for a weekend together to camp on property in Tennessee Colony, about 90 miles (144 kilometers) southeast of Dallas. They had recently bought the land from Hudson’s family. Prosecutors said Hudson resented the sale.
Cynthia Johnson, the wife of Carl Johnson, was able to hide and survived the rampage.
The Eagle of Bryan-College Station reported that Cynthia Johnson testified that she heard Hudson fatally beat her husband and her daughter, Hannah, inside a recreational vehicle. She hid until dawn the next morning, retrieved a cellphone dropped by her daughter and called police.
Four victims were found in a pond.
Defense witnesses testified that Hudson suffered brain damage from multiple seizures, two car accidents and extreme alcohol abuse, and had been emotionally and sometimes physically abused by his father.
“William Hudson was created, he wasn’t born that way,” Stephen Evans, one of Hudson’s attorneys, said.
Prosecution experts said Hudson had a personality disorder and not a mental illness.
“This is just who he is,” special prosecutor Lisa Tanner said. “This is a man who is not gonna change. That ought to scare you.”
The case had been moved from Anderson County to Bryan, about 90 miles (144 kilometers) to the southwest to avoid potential jury bias.