UPDATE: Months after pleading guilty to murdering his wife, Judson Hoover received a max sentence of 65 years. More on that here: https://www.newsandtribune.com/news/update-judson-hoover-gets-max-in-wifes-new-albany-murder/article_a8686846-25d8-11eb-9ee6-237cfe5916d3.html
50-year-old Judson Keith Hoover pleaded guilty to killing his wife, 38-year-old Rebecca Ruth Hoover, hours after he was charged with murder.
Rebecca had last been seen on August 2, and Judson filed for divorce a day later. Officials maintain that she was already dead at the time.
The incident came to light after the couple’s eight-year-old son told a school counselor that he’d witnessed his father kill his mother.
According to reports, Judson entered a guilty plea to stop the boy from having to testify in court.
New Albany Police Chief Told Bailey stated that the case began when Rebecca’s mom reported her missing on August 4. When officers went to her home on St. Joseph Road, they found no sign of Rebecca.
Bailey stated: “Fast-forwarding to Aug. 27, our criminal investigators were alerted that Ms. Hoover’s disappearance may very well have been criminal in nature. Based on that information, our criminal investigators took everything into high gear and spent countless hours uncovering the facts of this case.”
According to reports, a forensic interview was conducted with an unnamed family member, and search warrants executed at the couple’s home.
Rebecca’s body was recovered and Judson taken into custody the same day on suspicion of murder.
Charges were then formally filed and he pleaded guilty on the same day.
According to the probable cause affidavit: “The child disclosed seeing his father stomp his mother in the head 20 times, wearing black boots, while she was lying on the ground next to a black refrigerator in the basement. The child also observed Judson Hoover punch Rebecca Hoover in the stomach with a set of keys in his hands, but she was unresponsive and did not move. The child observed blood coming from Rebecca Hoover’s head and left ear.”
On August 27, detectives spoke to Judson when he went to pick the kids from school, and he granted authorities consent to search the family’s home and vehicles.
Investigators and crime scene technicians discovered blood spatter at the bottom of the basement stairs.
During his plea, Judson stated that he’d strangled Rebecca to death and had initially left her in the basement.
However, the medical examiner concluded that Rebecca died of blunt force trauma to the head and torso, consistent with the son’s account.
According to authorities, Rebecca’s body was also mutilated, but Judson claimed he did not recall doing so.
A few miles from the family’s home, surveillance footage at a storage facility showed Judson moving what appeared to be a body on August 4, minutes after police visited the home to discuss the missing person report.
He was caught on footage on August 28 returning to the storage unit, a day after he was questioned by police, driving a rented Dodge Caravan. He was seen lugging a 55-gallon container into the van.
He admitted to transferring the container holding his wife’s body to another storage unit on Strawberry Lane in Louisville. Rebecca’s body was recovered at the facility.
Sources: Fox 23