Guilty of second-degree murder was the verdict returned Tuesday afternoon in the murder trial of Jerry Elbert Hudson at the county courthouse in Pioche.
A not-guilty verdict was given on the charge of home invasion at the time of the murder.
County District Attorney Daniel Hooge said the guilty verdict also included two enhancements of use of a deadly weapon and sexual assault on an elderly woman.
Hudson, 50, was charged with home invasion, sexual assault, and murder in the death of 64-year old Carol Hullinger of Caliente, May 24, 2015.
Hudson fled the scene, but was later arrested in Las Vegas by the Criminal Apprehension Team Task Force June 15, 2015 and taken into custody at the Lincoln County Detention Center.
The trial, which began three weeks ago, was given to the jury of eight women and four men on Monday.
Hooge said the jury deliberated until about 9 p.m. Monday night, then resumed and returned the verdict early Tuesday afternoon.
He had said earlier he was going to leave the “choice of first- or second-degree murder to the jury” and was not asking for the death penalty.
Hooge complimented public defender Dylan Frehner “for doing an excellent job in presenting his case for a not guilty verdict, but the evidence against Hudson was just too strong. The jury did a good job with the evidence provided.”
On getting the home invasion charge removed, Hooge said the defense pointed out that while there was damage to the door of Hullinger’s residence, it couldn’t be determined if that was old damage or new damage. “There did not appear to be enough new splinters on the ground to determine it was new damage and the jury felt it was old damage, not new damage.”
However on the second-degree murder charge, Hooge said, “There was DNA on both the victim’s hands and a clump of Hudson’s hair was found near her body.”
The defense contended the DNA evidence and hair sample were “brought onto the scene later.”
Hooge said sentencing before presiding Seventh Judicial District Court Judge Gary Fairman has been set for August 24, but did not speculate on what the sentence might be.