More than three years after the death of 33-year-old Alta Bell, the man convicted in her death was denied an appeal in Richmond.
Judge William G. Petty of the Court of Appeals of Virginia issued an eight-page opinion on April 2 upholding the multiple convictions by a King William County jury in December 2017 against Michael Hudson.
Hudson was found guilty of strangulation, aggravated malicious wounding and abduction after a two-day trial, according to Tidewater Review archives. He was sentenced to life in prison plus 15 years.
Jurors determined Hudson had strangled Bell. Hudson didn’t take Bell to the hospital until two days after the incident, despite the fact that a passerby had assisted Hudson with putting Bell in a car the day after the attack. Bell died 10 days after the attack on Dec. 28, 2015, from complications of strangulation.
Hudson appealed the convictions and argued the court had made a mistake when it allowed a medical examiner to state how Bell died.
Judge Petty and a three-judge panel on the court were unpersuaded. They denied Hudson’s appeal, stating “we affirm the convictions.”
It is unclear where Hudson is incarcerated. The Virginia Department of Corrections does not list him as an inmate at any facility in the state.
West Point Police Department officials said Hudson strangled Bell on Dec. 18, 2015, in a home in the 200 block of 12th Street.
“It is sometimes difficult to discern the line between expert testimony that aids the fact finder and expert testimony that invades the function of the fact finder,” Petty wrote. “Any error in declining to redact the autopsy report or limit the medical examiner’s testimony had but slight effect, if any on the jury.”
Disclosures in court and court filings showed that Bell had opened up a conversation about Hudson leaving her home in West Point after he attacked her, according to Tidewater Review archives.
“I’m done being hit Mike,” Bell wrote in text messages sent to Hudson Dec. 8, 2015. “We can’t live together like this anymore.”
Hudson would no longer be welcome at Bell’s residence effective Dec. 18, 2015, according to the text messages. He said he didn’t want to leave because he’d be homeless.
Roberts can be reached at 757-604-1329, by email at email@example.com and on Twitter @SPRobertsJr.