Second-Degree murder suspect enters no contest plea; sentenced to life in prison

BAY COUNTY, Fla. — A Lynn Haven man will spend the rest of his life in prison after pleading no contest in a 2018 murder case.

According to the Lynn Haven Police Department, Steven Hudson shot and killed Ashley Brooke Adams Smith on August 17, 2019.

Police say they responded to Hudson’s home on Illinois Avenue and found the victim bleeding from the neck and abdomen area.

“Dr. Radtke’s of the opinion that both contact gunshots, meaning the gun was placed on her body,” said Assistant State Attorney Bob Sombathy during arguments. Dr. Jay Radtke is the Chief Medical Examiner for the 14th Judicial Circuit.

The police report says witnesses from that day saw Hudson leaving the scene with a gun in his hand. Hudson was later spotted driving on Highway 77, arrested after a traffic stop and taken into the custody by Lynn Haven police.

In September of 2018, Hudson entered a plea of not guilty but on Friday, that decision was changed. Hudson’s attorney, Kim Jewell said in the courtroom, “Mr. Hudson is here today to withdraw his previously entered plea of not guilty and enter a plea of no contest.”

Before being sentenced, the court heard from both of the defendant’s parents as well as Hudson himself.

“To the Adams family, I am truly sorry for the loss of Ashley. She was my best friend and I love and miss her too. This was all an accident and by no means was it intentional. I hope you all can find it in your heart to forgive me,” said Hudson.

Hudson was then sentenced by Judge Brantley Clark Jr.

“I’m going to accept the guilty pleas at this time as to second-degree murder with a firearm. Mr. Hudson will be adjudicated. He’ll be sentenced to the balance of his life in prison,” said Clark.

Hudson was previously facing charges of second-degree murder with a firearm as well as a felon in possession of firearm or ammunition. Clark sentenced Hudson to 15 years in prison for felon in possession of a firearm.

Sombathy says Hudson had six prior felony convictions and was released from prison six months before the murder.

On behalf of Adams-Smith’s family, Sombathy says the only thing they wanted to say after the sentence was, “Justice has been served.”

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