Patrick Richardson

Managing Editor

Eleventh Judicial District Court Judge Jeffery Jack found Kaston Hudgins "100 percent responsible" for the 2009 deaths of Taylor and Teresa Kemp in Cherokee County District Court Friday.

It was the culmination of three days of emotional testimony, in which friends and family members including John Kemp, the father of Taylor and husband of Teresa.

Jack hit Hudgins with nearly $5.5 million in compensetory damages and is awaiting post trial briefs before making a decision on punitive damages.

Defense attorneys had argued the Cherokee County Sherif's Department was at least partially responsible for the death of the Kemps because Deputy Dean Kidd had been engaged in a high-speed pursuit when Hudgins' stolen car slammed into the back of the Pontiac Vibe driven by Teresa Kemp.

Jack called that defense "borderline frivolous."

Hudgins has been charged with two counts of felony murder in the criminal case which carries the same penalty as first degree murder in the state of Kansas. He is scheduled to go to trial in June.

For more information on the civil trial see Tuesday's Advocate.