Woman gets probation for witness tampering

2013-02-23T00:00:00Z 2013-02-23T10:57:33Z Woman gets probation for witness tamperingKim Smith Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
February 23, 2013 12:00 am  • 

The former girlfriend of a confessed murderer was sentenced to one year of probation Friday for trying to influence a witness in the case.

Virginia Rose Hudson told Pima County Superior Court Judge Javier Chon-Lopez she knows what she did was wrong and she accepts full responsibility.

Nicholas Phillip Rogers, 24, was indicted two years ago in the death of Todd Whitzel. Shortly thereafter, Hudson was accused of trying to persuade a witness in the case not to testify against Rogers.

Hudson, 20, eventually pleaded guilty and was facing between four months and two years in prison.

On Friday, her attorney, Albert Morrison, told Chon-Lopez Hudson has behaved herself since her release from prison, gotten a job and stayed away from bad influences.

He also told the judge his client was abused by Rogers.

Rogers recently pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and is facing a prison sentence of between 14 and 22 years.

Court documents indicate detectives and prosecutors believe Rogers tried to have three witnesses and his own mother killed while in jail.

In exchange for his plea agreement, however, prosecutors have promised not to charge Rogers based on any evidence they have accumulated so far.

"Should any harm come to any witnesses or other parties related to the case in the future as a result of the actions of the defendant, or if the defendant engages in new activities aimed at threatening or harming persons, the state will use any evidence in its possession, including evidence of defendant's activities from jail since the time of his arrest if relevant to prove those activities," the plea agreement states.

Deputy Pima County Attorney Heather Siegele has Rogers on tape asking Hudson to arrange for three witnesses to be "taken care of": his 16-year-old former girlfriend, the man who helped him dispose of Whitzel's body and another friend, according to court documents.

If the three witnesses were no longer available to testify, Rogers told Hudson, his case would go away.

Chon-Lopez also designated Hudson's charge - trying to influence a witness - a misdemeanor Friday.

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