Man Charged With Murder in East Texas Camp Killings

20 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

EXCLUSIVE: How Texas campground massacre unfoldedIt was supposed to be a rural idyll – but it turned into a scene of unimaginable violence described by local law enforcement as ‘straight out of a horror movie’.ANDERSON COUNTY, Texas — The lone survivor of a shooting that took the lives of six at a Texas campsite earlier this week hid from the gunman during the shooting, according to an arrest warrant released Wednesday. County Sheriff Greg Taylor said Hudson befriended the group and helped dislodge one of their vehicles from the mud before returning hours later to kill them, KXAS-TV (NBC5) reported.

When Thomas Kamp, 46, bought a tract of land in rural East Texas, the remoteness appealed to the outdoorsy guy who planned camping weekends with his girlfriend Hannah Johnson, 40, and her son Kade, 6. He then allegedly returned later that evening and drank alcohol with the family before accompanying four of them — including a 6-year-old boy into the surrounding woods, the warrant provided by the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office said. But last weekend that simple dream was shattered in the most horrific manner as six of the family were cut down in cold blood – murdered, it seems, by the neighbor who befriended them one moment and slaughtered them the next; William Mitchell Hudson, 33.

Johnson heard gunshots before Hudson, 33, returned alone to the campsite and chased two of her family members — her husband Carl Johnson, and daughter Hannah Johnson, into the trailer. They were joined for the weekend by Kamp’s two sons, Nathan, 23, and Austin, 21, of California; and Johnson’s parents, Carl Johnson, 76, and Cynthia Johnson.

She has told law enforcement officers that Hudson approached their group – Kamp, Hannah, Carl, Kade, Cynthia and Kamp’s two adult sons Austin, 21, and Nathan, 23 – on Saturday November 14 riding an orange tractor. Authorities have said Hudson went to his mother’s home on an adjacent property and the warrant shows deputies saw him through a door wearing bloodstained clothes. Officials found the bodies of a man and woman in a travel trailer at the campsite next to Hudson’s residence and four males were found dead in a pond on Hudson’s property, the sheriff’s office said.

His court-appointed attorney, Stephen Evans, said he couldn’t comments on the details of the investigation because he was just assigned the case and hadn’t met with Hudson. Six members of two different, yet joined families are gone,” said Allyson Mitchell, Anderson County criminal district attorney. “Our hearts grieve for the Johnson and Kamp families and we will use all our resources to prosecute Hudson to the fullest extent of the law.” When police arrived on the scene in the early hours of Sunday morning – alerted by Cynthia’s 911 call – they found Hannah and her father, dead in the camper trailer that her parents, former university professors who retired to Texas from Maine, had used to tour America. ‘And when he’d been drinking he was not so nice a person. Where Kamp and Hannah loved to work out together, run marathons, kayak or work in their front yard an acquaintance who asked not to be named told Daily Mail Online that Hudson whiled away his free hours ‘roaming all over the property’ – a habit that Kamp’s purchase appears to have inhibited with dire consequences.

On Tuesday, Thomas Kamp’s ex-wife, Carina Kamp, told the Palestine Herald-Press that Hudson’s family sold Kamp a small piece of their more than 50 acres of land. She said that Kamp had told her that Hudson was angry about the transaction that sold the land he regarded as rightfully his following his father’s death earlier this year and the fact that Kamp had put up a gate making the land private. Thomas Kamp chain-locked the property after he bought it, effectively closing off the land to Hudson, the Herald-Press reported. “It sounded like a war zone over there. Carina said that Hudson had cut the lock and regained possession of the land without Kamp’s knowledge – a discovery made by the family during the recent weekend. They would shoot all day over there,” Walter Harris said, adding that he believes the family did more than just hunt. “They’ve about killed all the deer off around here,” Harris told the TV station. “When we moved here, there was lots of deer here.

The Hudson and Woolverton families have a long history of marrying into one another and, according to locals in nearby Palestine, the land on which Hudson and his mother lived was commonly regarded as their family’s property. You couldn’t even go out the drive without seeing one.” Little is known about Hudson, who is being held on $2.5 million bond for one count of murder. And while Kamp and the Johnsons were described this week by Kamp’s uncle, Steve Woodruff, as ‘good solid citizens’ who had never had a day’s trouble in their life, Hudson’s past is riddled with violence and discord. Catrina, 32, married Hudson on July 16, 2004 and the couple ceased to live together as husband and wife on November 29, 2006, when she filed for divorce.

I know that he started drinking heavily after that, and anger just progressed and got worse,” the anonymous friend said. “He sure didn’t seem like he was that crazy,” Swinnea said. “You just never know what is brewing in someone… The reasons given for the marriage becoming ‘insupportable’, were ‘discord or conflict of personalities that destroys the marriage relationship and prevents any reasonable expectation of reconciliation’, and ‘cruel treatment’, The extent of that cruelty is laid bare in an affidavit submitted by Catrina who applied for a protective order against Hudson at the same time as she petitioned for divorce.

At the time she had a six-week-old daughter, a child whose birth, she explained to the court, prompted her to leave the situation as she feared that not only her but her child’s safety was at risk. ‘In the past I have been too scared to come forward with my accusations, scared that I would suffer more at the hands of my husband if I went against him. He also worked as a bus driver and maintenance department worker for the Winona Independent School District from 2008 to 2010, interim Superintendent Wiley Vonner said.

He wasn’t terminated and left the job on his own, likely after he divorced a fellow school district employee, Vonner said. “There were definitely never any acts of violence or confrontations. She explained: ‘When I returned home I asked him if he could please call me during the day or retrieve my phone calls so that I could check on the baby.’ Hudson ‘became infuriated’.

It’s definitely not something you can erase out of your mind.’ According to Sheriff Taylor, Hudson did not physically resist arrest when it came on Sunday morning but he has not been co-operative with the investigation and is not talking. Sheriff Taylor, who’s investigation is being assisted by the Texas Rangers and Palestine Police Department, said that the crime scene was still being processed five days after the killings. He explained: ‘There’s a lot of physical evidence to process and that’s what’s happening and what’s been happening since the day it began, the day we got the 911 call. ‘Hopefully maybe in another day or so we’ll be finished out there. They’re doing two autopsies a day so maybe Friday or even early next week we’ll have something to release.’ Sheriff Taylor and his office have been in contact with both Cynthia Johnson and the Kamp family and Hudson’s family who are, he said, ‘pretty good people and just as distraught as anyone.’ He said: ‘The comments I get from people [in Palestine] is that they’re praying for the family.

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