Hudson faces three counts of capital murder in deaths of campers

William Hudson

The Anderson County District Attorney's Office announced William Hudson has been charged with multiple counts of capital murder related to the deaths of six campers this past weekend.

A family spokesperson identified the victims as Carl Johnson, 77, and his daughter, Hannah Johnson, 40; her 6-year-old son, Kade; Mrs. Johnson's boyfriend, Thomas Kamp, 46; and Kamp's two adult sons from a previous marriage, Nathan and Austin Kamp, of California.

The only survivor was identified as Cynthia Johnson, Carl's wife. She sustained minor injuries. The Anderson County Sheriff's Office has not verified the identifications pending autopsy results.

The incident occurred Saturday and Sunday along County Road 2217, about 12 miles northwest of Palestine off of U.S. Highway 287 in the rural community of Tennessee Colony. Carl and Cynthia Johnson had retired to Anderson County from Farmington, Maine, according to a local newspaper there. Kamp, Hannah Johnson and her son had moved to Texas to be closer to them and settled in Midlothian.

Kamp had purchased 15 acres adjoining land owned by the Hudson family in August and were camping there for the weekend.

In the affidavit, according to Cynthia Johnson, Hudson, 33, arrived in the camp Saturday on an orange tractor and helped the family pull a vehicle from the mud.

Later, he returned and had a drink with the group before accompanying several of the campers into the surrounding woods. Cynthia Johnson then heard several gunshots.

Hudson then emerged from the woods alone and chased Carl Johnson and Hannah Johnson into a camper trailer.

The affidavit said Cynthia Johnson heard two gunshots and saw her husband fall on the steps of the camper. She ran and hid and heard several more gunshots. She stayed in hiding until she felt it was safe to move, the affidavit said.

According to Anderson County Sheriff Greg Taylor, the survivor used a cellphone to call 911 around 7 a.m. Sunday. Deputies found Mrs. Johnson along the side of County Road 2217, which fronted the properties.

Deputies arrived in the 800 block of County Road 2217 about 12 miles northwest of Palestine, off of U.S. Highway 287, and discovered Johnson and his daughter dead in a camper trailer.

Investigators from the sheriff's office, the Anderson County District Attorney's Office, Texas Rangers and Palestine Police Department investigated the crime scene and began searching for the four missing campers.

The affidavit notes investigators canvassed the area at a home in the 1100 block of County Road 2217 and located a red tractor with visible blood stains. Investigators saw Hudson through a glass door with what they believed to be blood stains on him.

Hudson was located Sunday afternoon at his mother's home, also located along County Road 2217, and was taken into custody without incident.

District Attorney Allyson Mitchell said Hudson so far faces charges related to the deaths of 6-year-old Kade Johnson and four adult victims. She did not indicate the status of charges related to the death of the sixth victim. 

She said Hudson would likely face other charges.

"This is the most egregious and most horrific case I've seen in my career," she said. "We will prosecute to the fullest extent of the law."

Hudson was appointed an attorney, Stephen Evans, of Palestine, on Wednesday. Evans would not comment regarding whether he had spoken with Hudson.

Evans said this would be his 14th time representing a client in a capital murder case, dating back to 1987.

 

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