Hudson found guilty in death of West Point woman

A King William Circuit Court jury passed down guilty verdicts Friday on a man charged in the 2015 death of a West Point woman.

Michael Hudson was found guilty of strangulation, aggravated malicious wounding and abduction in connection with the death of 33-year-old Alta Bell after a two-day trial.

The jury sentenced Hudson to life in prison for aggravated malicious wounding and a combined 15 years in prison for the other two charges.

West Point Police Department officials believed Hudson strangled Bell on Dec. 18, 2015, in a home along the 200 block of 12th Street. Bell wasn’t taken to the hospital until two days later. The FBI arrested Hudson after a three-week search on Jan. 7, 2016, in Richmond. Bell died on Dec. 28, 2015.

Text messages in the days prior to the incident showed the two had discussed Hudson moving out of Bell’s West Point home after physical altercations, including an incident in which Hudson apparently pushed Bell into a wall, Commonwealth’s Attorney Matthew Kite said.

“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 was to leave Bell’s residence on Dec. 18, 2015, although he expressed reluctance to do so, saying the move would leave him homeless, according to the text messages.

The next morning, Quy Duong, a general contractor, testified he arrived at Bell’s home to install an HVAC system only to find Bell lying on the ground near her red sedan. A man asked him to help put Bell into the vehicle. The man then drove away with Bell, who was unable to form words when asked about how she was feeling, Duong said.

Bell was supposed to leave on a family trip to North Carolina on Dec. 19, 2015. Instead, Hudson contacted Bell’s twin sister, Afton Bell, through a text message the day before the trip to say she wouldn’t be going.

Afton Bell began to call and text her sister and Hudson on the evening of Dec. 20, 2015, and didn’t get a response from either until Hudson reported that her sister was at the hospital the following day.

Alta Bell died on Dec. 28, 2015, after spending time in the hospital and then a rehabilitation center, Afton Bell said.

During an interview, Hudson told police that Alta Bell was “acting funny” the night of Dec. 20, 2015, and he then took her to Sentara Williamsburg hospital that night. Hudson was unclear on the events of Dec. 18, 2015, West Point Police Department investigator David Taylor said.

Bell arrived at the hospital with symptoms of a stroke, such as a paralyzed left side as well as vision and speech problems, Sentara Williamsburg neurologist Patrick Harding said.

Hudson’s defense layer, Richard Collins, argued that Bell could have suffered a stroke due to her smoking and diabetes.

Even with those health risks, which elevate the risk of a stroke, it’s still unusual for a woman Bell’s age to have a stroke. Testing didn’t suggest the stroke was prompted by vascular damage caused by smoking. Bell also reported being choked, Harding said.

Bell was diagnosed with a middle cerebral artery stroke, a kind of stroke that can develop when blood flow is restricted to the brain, Harding said.

Jacobs can be reached by phone at 757-298-6007.

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