Cold case solved: Arizona man charged in 1996 Clarksville murder

Posted at 8:56 AM, May 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-07 19:04:28-04

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — An Arizona man faces homicide charges in the 1996 death of a woman in Clarksville, thanks to a DNA match.

48-year-old Kenneth Hudspeth was arrested in Phoenix, Arizona last month. He's charged with killing 23-year-old Crista Bramlitt in the Sunnydale Mobile Home Park in Clarksville on October 28, 1996. According to investigators, Bramlitt died of suffocation and there were signs of sexual assault.

During the autopsy in 1996, a sexual assault evidence collection kit was completed and sent to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab. A DNA profile was found and uploaded into the Combined DNA Index System, also known as CODIS. In February of this year, a "preliminary association" was made to Hudspeth through the CODIS database.

Hudspeth was questioned in April in Phoenix, where he admitted he knew the victim, was in Clarksville during the time of her death, was at her home the day of her death, and was the last person to see here alive. According to investigators, he was also asked about other aspects of the case, and "did not refute any of the facts." Hudspeth was taken into custody that day.

Hudspeth is currently being transported to Clarksville where he will be booked into the Montgomery County Jail.

Additionally, investigators say there were changes to CODIS in 2005, and DNA from this case as well as others were resubmitted for testing as a result. During the initial investigation in 1996, Hudspeth was not known to investigators, and moves almost immediately after the murder. In 1997, he moved out of the area altogether.

Hudspeth was arrested in July of 1997 for domestic assault in the Clarksville area, but a link to the Bramlitt case was never made. He's had numerous other arrests over the years, including two prison terms in Texas and Arizona, but neither led to a connection in the CODIS database. The connection made this year came about after an arrest on a felony charge involving an assault.

Bramlitt's daughter Cali Bree Marrouch released the following statement on the arrest:

The process has been very long from childhood until now. I have always wondered who would do this to my mom for the last 23 years... This has been a long time coming, I was absolutely shocked when I got the call from detective Ulrey that there had been a break in the case of my mothers murder. Especially since I have resided in Phoenix Arizona for the last 10 years and to find out he was in the same city was absolutely terrifying and shocking I have been very overwhelmed since the arrest now that I can put a face to who did this it has brought back the grieving process all over again. I am relieved that there is a suspect and that he is finally in custody.