Corpsewood: The Devils Manor

After his 50th birthday, Charles Scudder quit his job as a professor of pharmacology at Loyola University in Chicago and moved with his partner Joseph Odom to a 40-acre piece of land just outside of Summerville, Georgia. The couple lived in a trailer home on the property whilst they had their home which would become known by its name Corpsewood Manor built, they also had a 3 story chicken coop built with the top floor being called the pink room.

The pink room was known as a place where the couple would entertain guests with their homemade wine and reported satanic rituals and devil-worshipping. One of the guests to the pink room was 17-year-old Kenneth Brock, who had met the couple after he asked if he could hunt on their property and they said yes. Brock came to believe that Scudder and Odom were wealthy because of their living situation but the truth was that they had spent all of their money building their home in Georgia.

After Brock moved into his friend Samuel West’s trailer home, he told West that Scudder and Odom were “queer devil-worshipers” who were hiding a fortune on their isolated property and the two friends decided to make a plan to rob the couple and start a new life. On December 12th, 1982 Brock and West went to Brock’s mothers home to borrow a rifle, they said it was for hunting rabbits but that was a lie.

Also on this night teenagers, Joey Wells and Teresa Hudgins were meant to be going out on a date but when Hudgins walked outside her home to meet Wells he was accompanied by Brock and West to her surprise. Wells told her that they were going to go to Corpsewood Manor for a get-together and Hudgins reluctantly agreed to go along. On the way to the property, the group decided to huff a mixture of paint thinner, alcohol and glue which is known as toot-a-loo.

Once the 4 arrived at Corpsewood Manor they were warmly welcomed by Scudder and then they all went to the pink room where they drank Scudder and Odom’s homemade wine whilst Odom was in the house making dinner for the group. After they ran out of homemade wine Brock went to his truck to get more toot-a-loo but instead, he returned with the rifle to which Scudder giggled and said “bang, bang” believing it was a joke.

Scudder was threatened at knifepoint to give Brock and West his fortune, he responded by telling them there was no fortune. Then Brock went into the home and shot Odom four times, killing him and then Brock went into the lounge and killed the couples two mastiffs who were sleeping by the fireplace. Scudder was then bound and gagged before being taken into the kitchen to see his partner lying dead on the kitchen floor surrounded by a pool of blood.

Hudgins tried to run out of the home to escape the terror but she was chased and bought back to the home where she was made to sit next to Scudder who asked her if she was okay, then West held the rifle up to Scudder’s head and Scudder said: “I asked for this” before West shot him in the head five times. Scudder’s last words have always been seen as a cryptic message or perhaps a premonition, especially since just months before his murder he had painted a self-portrait where he was gagged with bullets in his head.

After the murders, Brock and West fled from the home in Scudder’s car and held Wells and Hudgins captive until they decided to flee the state to Mississippi where they kidnapped Navy lieutenant Kirby Phelps from a rest stop so that they could swap getaway cars but then West shot Phelps twice killing him. The friends decided to split up and flee separately.

Meanwhile, a friend of Scudder and Odom’s had gone around to their home and ended up finding them murdered. This is when Wells and Hudgins escaped from wherever they were being held and they went to the police to tell them what had happened on December 12th. A manhunt for Brock and West was underway.

On December 20th, 1982 Kenneth Brock turned himself into police in Georgia. On December 25th, 1982 Samuel West turned himself into police in Tennessee. During West’s interview with the police, he said “all I can say is they were devils and I killed them, that’s how I feel about it”. Both men were found guilty of the murders and sentenced to life in prison.

Rest In Peace Charles Scudder and Joseph Odom.

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