CLARKSVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Investigators have arrested an Arizona man and charged him in the 1996 death of a 23-year-old Clarksville woman.
Kenneth Hudspeth, 48, was identifed through DNA evidence. Investigators say on the afternoon of Tuesday, Oct. 28 around 2:45 p.m., officers responded to a trailer in the Sunnydale Mobile Home Park on the 400 block of Peachers Mill Road in response to a woman found dead inside, later identified as Crista Bramlitt.
Investigators said there were obvious signs that pointed to Bramlitt being a victim homicide and sexual assault.
During the autopsy, a sexual assault evidence collection kit was completed and sent to the TBI Crime Lab for analysis. A DNA profile was obtained and loaded into the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), in search of a possible match.
It took nearly 23 years for the CODIS system to return a match from the previous evidence linking Hudspeth to the crime back in February. Hudspeth was interviewed in Phoenix, and it was established that he was in Clarksville at the time of Bramlitt's murder, he knew the victim, was present in her home on the day of her death, and was the last person to see her alive.
Investigators said Hudspeth did not refute any of the facts presented to him. On April 16, Hudspeth was taken into custody in Phoenix and charged with criminal homicide. He waived extradition and is in transport to Clarksville where he will be booked into the Montgomery County Jail.
Investigators say there are over 1500 pages of documentation associated with the homicide investigation of Crista Bramlitt. The original detective on the case was Detective Charvis, who is now retired.
In 2005, there were changes to the CODIS and the DNA from the Bramlitt case and others cases were resubmitted for testing. Hudspeth reportedly flew under the radar and was not known to investigators at the time of the homicide. He had resided in the mobile home park for a brief period of time and moved out almost immediately after the homicide was committed. He moved out of the Clarksville area in December 1997.
Hudspeth had been originally arrested in July 1997 for domestic assault of another victim and has had numerous arrests over the years since the homicide including two prison stints in Texas and Arizona. The CODIS hit in Arizona came about after an arrest on a Felony charge involving an assault.
Clarksville Police Department currently has over 30 cold cases. Bramlitt family members were notified of the new information as soon as the break in the case was confirmed.