Wife-killer's sentence increased as part of plea deal
A25-year-to-life prison sentence is now looking like a full lifetime behind bars for convicted murderer Bourne Huddleston, who will spend at least 55 years in prison for shooting his wife in 2012 and concocting three murder-for-hire attempts along the way.
Huddleston, 46, was resentenced to the harshest minimum sentence available Friday for the murder of Kristy Huddleston as part of a plea deal that allows his sister to escape prison time for her role in trying to hire a hit man to kill a star witness against him.
In exchange, Huddleston pleaded no contest in Jackson County Circuit Court to a third charge of attempted aggravated murder that allowed his former mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years to be stretched 30 years longer.
He also agreed to waive any claims to $800,000 in life insurance and unpaid wages due Kristy Huddleston's estate.
That money will now go to the couple's son, who was 10 years old when he discovered his mother's body in the family's rural Medford home moments after she was shot dead by her husband in March 2012.
"This doesn't return his parents, but it at least gives him a chance," Deputy District Attorney David Hoppe said outside of court. "This can have an impact on his life right now. That's why it was worth it to let the sister go."
Genetta Huddleston-Coradetti, 44, pleaded guilty to one count of solicitation of murder and was sentenced to five years' probation, which she will be allowed to serve in her home state of Florida.
Eight other felony charges were dropped against Huddleston-Coradetti, who had no previous criminal history.
However, if she violates the condition of her probation, she faces a return to Oregon for a three-year prison term. During her sentencing, Huddleston-Coradetti apologized to the court for her role in the case.
Huddleston's original sentence last month was for life in prison with a mandatory minimum of 25 years, with other sentences running concurrent to that. That would have made him eligible for parole at age 71.
After Friday's plea, Jackson County Circuit Judge Lorenzo Mejia echoed the original life sentence. He then added three consecutive, 10-year mandatory minimum sentences to Huddleston's time for attempted aggravated murder for trying to hire two men to kill Kristy Huddleston and then trying to hire a third to kill one of the original would-be assassins who was cooperating with police.
Hoppe on Friday argued that the sentences should run consecutive because the attempted aggravated murder charges reflect distinct crimes that were not part of Kristy Huddleston's actual murder at her husband's hands.
Mejia agreed because there was no case law presented at Friday's hearing "that says I can't."
Huddleston would not be eligible for his first parole hearing until after his 101st birthday.
Before imposing the sentence, Mejia — who called Huddleston "amoral" and "anti-social" during his original April 17 sentencing — said Friday's sentence succeeded in his goal "to keep you in prison as long as I can."
Denise Esselstyn, Kristy's mother, said the deeper mandatory minimum sentencing helps quell concerns that Huddleston could one day be freed.
"My husband was concerned that 25 years wasn't really enough," Esselstyn said outside the court.
Huddleston, shackled and wearing orange Jackson County Jail clothes, declined to address Mejia before his resentencing.
Huddleston signed notarized documents stating that as part of the deal he agreed not to attempt to lay claim or otherwise delay the $800,000 due his son.
"I exerted the maximum leverage that was available to the state to get (Huddleston) to do the right thing," Hoppe said outside the courtroom.
Kristy Huddleston, 43, was a nurse care manager for the Department of Veterans Affairs' Southern Oregon Rehabilitation Center and Clinics in White City who helped returning veterans reintegrate into society following tours of duty.
Bourne Huddleston is a former Marine who did four tours in the Middle East.
Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470, or email at email@example.com.