Husband shot ex-wife to death in self-defense outside Oak Brook hotel, lawyer says

Special to the Tribune

A Bolingbrook man shot his ex-wife to death in self-defense in the parking lot of an Oak Brook hotel on New Year’s Day 2010, his lawyer said today.

A jury heard opening statements and testimony as Jerry L. Hudson’s trial for the murder of Melissa Bridgewater started in DuPage County.

Bridgewater, 45, of Bolingbrook, was shot to death around 6:20 a.m. on Jan. 1, 2010, in her car in the parking lot of the Doubletree Hotel in Oak Brook.

Prosecutors contend that Hudson, 51, also of Bolingbrook, tracked his ex-wife to the hotel, where she had spent New Year’s Eve with her boyfriend.

As Bridgewater tried to back out of her parking space early the next morning, Hudson ran into her car with his rental car and then walked up and shot her six times through the driver’s side window, authorities allege.

Although the couple had been divorced for several years, they still dated, and prosecutors said Hudson was humiliated when he learned Bridgewater was seeing someone else.

But Hudson’s attorney, John Lyke, called the shooting an act of self-defense or, at worst, “imperfect self-defense.”

“It’s not a case of whodunit, it’s a case of why did he do it,” Lyke said.

Hudson will testify that he shot Bridgewater when she made a sudden move toward the center console of her car, his attorney said.

Hudson knew Bridgewater owned a gun and he believed she was she was reaching for it, Lyke said.

But DuPage County First Assistant State’s Attorney Mary Cronin said letters Hudson left at his residence indicate he intended to kill Bridgewater.

In one note, she said, Hudson wrote his former wife “took my manhood” and he was going to “take her with me.”

“If she took his manhood, it’s a petty theft and not one that warranted six bullet holes in the head and back,” Cronin said.

Marvin Durr, Bridgewater’s boyfriend, testified that he overheard a heated telephone conversation between Bridgewater and Hudson before the shooting, and that, following the call, Bridgewater decided to leave the hotel.

She and Durr had driven there separately and were celebrating the holiday and Durr’s birthday at a hotel dance party, he said.

A security guard who escorted Bridgewater to her car testified he placed her bag in her car and was walking back to the hotel when he heard the sound of the collision and turned to see a man walk up to Bridgewater’s car and open fire.

Following the shooting, Hudson drove away in a car he had rented two days before, prosecutors said.

He turned himself Jan. 4, 2010, after a warrant was issued for his arrest.

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