A Middle Tennessee judge on Wednesday sentenced a man to life in prison plus 20 years for the 1996 Clarksville rape and murder of Crista Bramlitt.
Kenneth Hudspeth was convicted by a Montgomery County jury in September of first degree murder, second degree murder and two counts of aggravated rape 25 years after Bramlitt's death.
Hudspeth was arrested in Arizona in May 2019.
At trial, jurors were shown a taped 2019 interview between Hudspeth, now 51, and Clarksville Police after his arrest in Arizona. In the interview, he repeatedly denied having sex with Bramlitt.
Bramlitt was found dead in her Clarksville trailer home on the afternoon of Oct. 28, 1996. She was naked and had sustained throat injuries.
Investigators were able to match Hudspeth's DNA to samples collected in the case, authorities said.
The DNA along with Hudspeth's 2019 interview was some of the most compelling evidence in the case.
At the time of Bramlitt's death, Hudspeth had just moved into a trailer with his family, four doors down from her in Sunnydale Mobile Home Park.
Hudspeth trial: 24 years later: Trial for Crista Bramlitt slaying begins
Hudspeth took the stand in his own defense and admitted that he lied during the 2019 interview.
"I just don’t see myself raping and killing this woman. I hope I didn’t," Hudspeth said. "I don’t know what the truth is."
During this week's sentencing hearing, General District Attorney Robert Nash asked Judge Robert Lee Davies to consider Hudspeth's prior criminal convictions.
Hudspeth was convicted for a Texas robbery in 1988 and an Arkansas aggravated assault in 1990, serving several years in prison for each offense, Nash said.
Despite Hudspeth's DNA not being found on the suspected murder weapon, a knife, Nash said the weapon should be acknowledged during sentencing, due to the injuries inflicted on Bramlitt.
Davies determined that Hudspeth was a, 'danger to society,' and sentenced him to life in prison for the murder charges in counts one and two. Davies merged the rape charges together and sentenced Hudspeth to an additional 20 years in prison.
Hudspeth's family has maintained his innocence, telling The Leaf-Chronicle that he did not commit this crime.
Hudspeth's attorney John Parker said a motion for a new trial and an appeal will be filed.
Alexis Clark can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 931-217-8519. Follow her on Twitter @Lexclark_.
This article originally appeared on Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle: Hudspeth given life sentence in 1996 Clarksville rape, murder case