GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - A Wyoming man pleaded guilty Monday to second-degree murder, admitting that he stabbed his ex-girlfriend in the neck, wrapped her body in plastic and buried it beneath a tree in his mother’s yard several miles away.
The family of Ana Carrillo gasped as new details about her death emerged during a plea hearing in Kent County Circuit Court.
Andrew Hudson entered pleas to second-degree murder and tampering with evidence. A separate perjury case was dismissed. The plea agreement calls for a minimum sentence of 40 years in prison.
The accord required that Hudson tell police where he put Carrillo’s body. It was found in the yard of his mother’s home off of Maguire Avenue south of Three Mile Road NE in Grand Rapids Township.
The prosecutor’s office also agreed to drop perjury charges against three people, including Hudson’s parents.
“To date there is no evidence that leads us to believe anything other than the defendant acted alone in the murder and in the disposal of her body,’’ Kent County Assistant Prosecutor Kellee Koncki said at Monday's hearing.
Kent County Circuit Court Judge Mark Trusock accepted Hudson’s guilty pleas and set sentencing for Jan. 18. He ordered that Hudson be held without bond in the Kent County Jail.
Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker said his office had a strong circumstantial case against Hudson even without a body. But a conviction without a body would have been difficult for Carrillo’s family, he said.
“We took first-degree murder off the table and then offered second-degree murder because we wanted the body,'' Becker said. "We wanted the body for the family. Without that, we wouldn’t have had the body.’’
Dismissing charges against Hudson’s parents and step-mother, he said, was part of the package.
“It was a substantial deal, but it was all to get closure for that family,’’ he said. “Without that information, there’s a pretty good chance we never would have found the body.’’
Hudson’s mother, Nancy DeCamp, 63, father, Lyle Hudson, 62, and Lyle Hudson’s common-law wife, Angela Ruth Wilson, 57, were facing up to life in prison for perjury.
During Monday’s hearing, it was publicly disclosed for the first time that Carrillo was stabbed.
“He said he had stabbed her in the throat and that was, quite frankly, the first time any of us had heard that,’’ Becker said. “Which makes sense with the physical evidence; there was a large amount of blood in the house.’’
Birdie Carrillo and other family members gasped when they heard how Ana died. Outside of court, she said she is thankful that Hudson led police to her daughter’s body.
“That meant everything to us because we got her, we put her to rest,’’ Birdie Carrillo said. “Without her, we would have been wondering, where is she? Is she out there still?’’
Carrillo, 35, was last seen alive on Sept. 3. Police say Hudson, 39, lured Carrillo to his home on Colby Avenue SW under the pretense of picking up their three children. The kids were not there, however.
Soon after Carrillo's disappearance, family members searched for her body in Newaygo County. The search then focused on the Grand River in Walker.
Becker said data taken from Hudson’s cellphone the morning of Sept. 3 placed him in the area of Johnson Park, which is located beside the Grand River in Walker. Becker said he believes Hudson was at Johnson Park looking for a place to dump the body before finally opting for his mother’s house.
“As far as we knew, that body was in Johnson Park and we conducted extensive searches,’’ Becker said. “We kind of got the hint after we went on that wild goose chase.’'
On Nov. 8 - the day of his preliminary hearing in Wyoming District Court, Hudson told investigators he buried Carrillo's body by a boat dock in Johnson Park, court records show.
Hudson then accompanied investigators to the park off of Butterworth Drive SW. When no body was found, the court hearing got underway late that afternoon.
Blood evidence, the contents of a burn barrel and statements Hudson made to family members was among evidence presented before the hearing was adjourned for the evening.
The following day, on Nov. 9, Hudson disclosed that the body was buried in his mother's backyard, but asked that the information not be publicly disclosed. Hudson and his attorney accompanied police to the home and Hudson pointed out the exact location where the body was buried in a shallow grave, court records show.
As a result, the remainder of the preliminary hearing was waived, sending the criminal case to Kent County Circuit Court for plea negotiations.
“We’re happy he’s not going to be able to get out any time before 40 years,’’ Birdie Carrillo said. “We’re grateful for that. Would we have liked more? Probably.’’
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