Suspected truck stop serial killer in court today

Friday, October 30, 2009 at 12:51am
Bruce Mendenhall

An Illinois truck driver police suspect is a serial killer will be in Davidson County Criminal Court today facing charges he tried to have five people murdered from jail.

Metro Police arrested Bruce Mendenhall, 58, of Albion, Ill., in June 2007 while they were investigating the death of Sara Nicole Hulbert, 25, of Ashland City. Her lifeless body was found at an East Nashville truck stop.

While incarcerated on criminal homicide charges in that case, police claim Mendenhall hatched a murder-for-hire plot to have five individuals killed, including the Metro investigators responsible for his arrest. He faces five counts of solicitation of first-degree murder.

He has a hearing scheduled in Judge Steve Dozier’s court, but details of the hearing were not clear.

Prosecutors have decided to put Mendenhall on trial for the solicitation charges before he goes on trial in the Hulbert murder case in 2010.

Mendenhall, who is suspected in five additional killings in four states, is often referred to as the “truck stop serial killer” in news reports because many of his alleged victims were highway prostitutes or young women hanging around interstate exits.

In one close-to-home case, he is charged in neighboring Wilson County in the 2007 murder of Samantha Winters, 48, of Nashville. Her body was discovered stuffed in a trashcan at a truck stop off Interstate 40.

Other cases also are pending in Indiana, Georgia and Alabama.

Check back later today for updates from the hearing.