Thursday, February 23, 2012

Chicago, IL: Lawyer: Man rammed ex-wife’s car, shot her six times in self-defense

Jerry L. Hudson shot his unarmed, ex-wife to death in her car outside the Oak Brook hotel where she was staying with her new boyfriend, but it wasn’t murder, Hudson’s attorney argued Wednesday.

Hudson fired six shots at 45-year-old Melissa Bridgewater in self-defense, defense attorney John Lyke Jr. told a DuPage County jury as Hudson’s trial began.

“This is not a case of who done it. This is a case of why did he do it,” Lyke said, acknowledging that Hudson carried out the Jan. 1, 2010, shooting in the upscale western suburb.

Hudson gunned down his former wife during a nasty, early-morning altercation in the darkened parking lot because he thought she was reaching into her center console for a pistol, Lyke argued.

“He bumped his car into hers to get her attention — and when she reached her hand into that console, that’s when he fired,” Lyke said, claiming Hudson couldn’t see well because it was “super dark” during the 6:20 a.m. confrontation.

“That’s why he mis-identified a lot of stuff,” Lyke said of Hudson, a 51-year-old former trucker from Bolingbrook.

In an earlier, heated phone call, Bridgewater purportedly warned Hudson that “I have a gun and I’m not afraid to use it,” Lyke told jurors, contending Hudson previously had seen Bridgewater with a handgun.

No gun was found in Bridgewater’s Silver Acura after the shooting.

Prosecutors, though, said an angry Hudson made 20 phone calls to his former wife in the 1-1/2 hours before the shooting, then hit her car with his Hyundai rental car in the parking lot of the Doubletree Hotel to prevent her from leaving.

Hudson shot Bridgewater as she sat in her car, hitting her six times — including two bullets that struck her in the head, prosecutor Mary Cronin said. Hudson drove off after the shooting, though a nearby toll plaza camera captured images of his car leaving the area, she said.

Hudson also left a rambling letter at his home complaining he was upset his former wife — who had divorced him in 2006 — didn’t want to reconcile with him, Cronin said.

“Melissa took my manhood, so I’m taking her with me,” Cronin said, reading an excerpt of the letter to jurors.

Cronin derisively dismissed Hudson’s claim that his manhood was stolen, calling it a “petty theft” that couldn’t justify Bridgewater’s slaying.

Hudson surrendered to police four days after the shooting and was charged with first-degree murder.

No comments: