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Murder suspect's mother in prison for Metro murder

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

By Karen Hall

Staff Writer

There's a link between Penny Coyle's murder here and a high profile crime in Nashville where a man was killed while trying to stop a purse snatching.

A former Lewisburg resident, mother of the 18-year-old arrested as a suspect in the Coyle case, is incarcerated in the Tennessee Prison for Women.

Stephanie Lynn Hudson, 40, pled guilty to facilitation of felony murder in the December 2007 stabbing death of Jerry McEwen, 54, in Nashville.

The man who killed McEwen, Robert Williams, was assumed to be Hudson's boyfriend. According to media reports at the time, Williams snatched an elderly woman's purse in the Kroger parking lot on East Thompson Lane. McEwen chased after Williams and was fatally stabbed in the chest. Hudson allegedly drove the getaway car.

Williams and Hudson fled the area, but were arrested in Jackson, Miss. a few weeks later.

Williams pled guilty to first-degree felony murder, and is serving life without the possibility of parole. Hudson's sentence ends in August 2034, although she is eligible for a parole hearing in October.

It is not her first time behind bars. In 2000 Hudson was sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty in a Marshall County forgery case.

The Classification Report prepared by Judy Byrd for the Department of Corrections at the time of Hudson's sentencing states that she had three sons with Steve Braden, the youngest of whom was Jerron Blake Braden, a suspect in the Coyle murder. After Jerron's birth Hudson apparently split with Braden and took up with Darrell Hudson, with whom she another son, three years younger than Jerron Braden.

The report also lists Hudson's criminal record, which started with passing worthless checks in 1991, and went on to forgery and theft in 1993. In January 2000 she was indicted in Marshall County, charged with 72 counts of forgery.

In a statement to law enforcement after her arrest, Hudson wrote, "In September 1999, B.D. McPeak asked me to move in with him and be his care provider. He had just been released from Oakwood Nursing Home...I moved in and cooked, cleaned, bathed, shopped and cared for him...He and his lawyer Dan Whitaker appointed me power of attorney." Hudson admitted that she "wrote checks for merchandise to give drug dealers in exchange for crack" and wrote, "I continued to write checks on B.D.'s account knowingly that the money wasn't in the bank."

McPeak's family stated Hudson took the checks while cleaning his home, and Whitaker's legal assistant said, "Stephanie had tried to be power of attorney but never was."

Hudson pled guilty to 35 counts of the indictment, and was sentenced to two years each on five of the counts, to be served consecutively, resulting in an effective 10-year sentence, of which, as a multiple offender, she had to serve at least 35 percent before being eligible for a parole hearing.

She was evidently out on parole in the Nashville area when she teamed up with Williams, also a parolee with a long history of violent crime. According to Metro Detective Brad Corcoran, quoted by WTVF TV Nashville, Hudson was suspected of helping Williams in several other purse snatchings.

According to her case file, Hudson was born in Maury County, but grew up in Marshall County, and attended Marshall County High School. She dropped out after 11th grade, but later got her GED.