A Kentucky man was found guilty of murder after his 8-year-old son told a school counselor he saw his father kill his mom in their home's basement.
Judson Hoover, 50, pled guilty to one count of murder on Thursday in Floyd County Superior Court, only three days after he was arrested for killing his wife, Rebecca Hoover, 38. He told the judge he strangled his wife to death, local outlet WLKY reports.
Rebecca had been reported missing by her mother on August 5, but police believe she was killed on August 2, the day before Judson filed for divorce from Rebecca, according to police documents obtained by Courier-Journal. Investigators got a break in the case on August 27, when his 8-year-son told a school counselor he had witnessed the murder.
The boy told police he saw his father stomp on his mother about 20 times and then punch her body while holding keys in his hands in their home's basement. An autopsy corroborates the boy's account, showing Rebecca died from blunt force trauma to the head and abdomen, NBC News reported. Traces of her blood had also been found by the basement steps.
Police learned Judson rented a self-storage unit, and surveillance footage of the unit showed him dragging what appeared to be a body there. However, when police searched it Rebecca was nowhere to be found — but detectives said they could smell body decomposition inside, according to PEOPLE.
After Hoover was arrested, he told detectives he had rented another storage unit in Louisville, Kentucky and hidden Rebecca's body there, Wave 3 News reports. When police searched the unit on August 31, they found her remains shoved inside a 55-gallon drum.
Judson had been accused of domestic violence before; in fact, in April he had been charged with strangulation and domestic abuse in the presence of a child younger than 16 years old. Rebecca's friend Chris Karraker told Wave 3 News the abuse had gone on for years.
“I’m sure you can imagine very horrible things in your head that you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy and she probably had every one of them done to her, times ten,” Karraker said.
Hoover said in court he had taken a plea deal so his son wouldn't have to testify in the case. He will be sentenced on Oct 2.
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