Man sentenced to 60 years in murder of Tabitha Tuders’ uncle

Friday, March 12, 2010 at 6:17pm

A judge sentenced Kevin Buford Sr. to 60 years in prison as a facilitator in the murder of Billy Jack Shane Tuders, the uncle of missing teen Tabitha Tuders.

Davidson County Criminal Court Judge J. Randall Wyatt Jr. handed Buford a 40-year sentence for facilitation of first-degree murder and a 20-year sentence for attempted especially aggravated robbery.

The charges stem from the Jan. 21, 2008, shooting death of Tuders, in which Buford, 42, his two teenage sons and his brother had allegedly been drinking and smoking pot before seeking out a robbery victim and coming across Tuders. Tuders was shot in the back when he resisted and attempted to run from the north Nashville car wash.

In issuing the sentence, Wyatt said he had heard both families make their cases for sentencing but ultimately the findings of the trial told him that Buford played more than just a minor role in Tuders’ death, and he should have been the one exercising proper judgment.

During the sentencing hearing, Tuders’ older brother Tony Tuders took the witness stand to ask the question that haunts his family.

“I just wanted to know why. Why after they robbed him did they have to chase him down and shoot him?”

Tuders then asked Wyatt to dish out the stiffest punishment possible for Buford —
“the most that he could get, consecutive.”

“That way he’s taken out of his family’s life like they’ve taken my brother out of mine.”

Buford’s half-brother Rodney Buford, who’s currently serving time for murder, testified that Buford had a tumultuous childhood filled with belt beatings and that he was a short man “with a Napoleon complex” who didn’t feel as though he fit in his entire life.

The defendant’s natural father, Bobby Hancock, also testified to Kevin Buford Sr.’s troubled upbringing saying he was probably as much to blame as his son was for not being their during his childhood.

In his allocution Buford apologized to the Tuders family and to his own family for this “great embarrassment.”

Buford must serve 35 percent of both sentences before he’s eligible for parole.

Robert Buford and Kevin Buford Jr. face a murder trial on May 24. Kevin Buford Sr.'s other son, Deangelo Buford, is set for trial on Aug. 23.