Gwinnett County GA June 10 2017 In the early hours of Sept. 1, 2016, Xavier Geder walked up to William Hudson, Jr., pulled out a gun and shot him eight times. Hudson cowered under a stairwell at the Norcross extended-stay hotel where he worked as a security guard, trying to get away from Geder.
“What are you doing, bro? I have kids. What are you doing?” Hudson asked.
Geder held the gun to Hudson’s head and pulled the trigger. Nothing came out.
“It is by divine providence that that happened,” said Assistant District Attorney Tom Williams in court Friday. “If that hadn’t been the case, we would have been here for a murder.”
Geder, a 33-year-old high school dropout, pleaded guilty to attempted murder, aggravated assault, aggravated battery and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute in connection with Hudson’s shooting. Judge Kathryn Schrader sentenced Geder to 60 years, with 30 to be served in prison.
Williams had asked for Geder to be sentenced to less time, 50 years with 25 served in prison. Schrader, who had overseen Geder’s 2014 plea in a drug-related case, told Geder she did not believe he wanted to change.
“If you had shown any concern for your own future … we would be having a different conversation. You know why? Because you wouldn’t be sitting in that chair,” Schrader said. “You’re just not a candidate for restoration. You’re not because you don’t want to change.”
Hudson and his family cried as the sentence was given, grateful for closure nearly a year after the shooting.
Hudson, along with his father, mother and wife, had asked Schrader to sentence Geder to the maximum punishment — 80 years — for the charges he pleaded guilty to. While Geder’s sentence is 20 years less than what they asked for, the Hudson family said they are satisfied with the sentence and glad to find closure.
“We are relieved. It was a lot of burden to hold onto,” said Joanne Hudson, William Hudson’s mother.
Hudson was in a coma for a month after he was shot; his wife Michelle Rucker cried as she recalled sleeping for months on the couches at Gwinnett Medical Center as her husband underwent six surgeries. Hudson suffered collapsed lungs, kidney failure and internal bleeding during his recovery and is awaiting a seventh surgery for a blood clot in his leg.
Doctors had told Hudson he may never walk again and that his leg might have to be amputated, but he was able to walk with a slight limp in the courtroom Friday. He said he still doesn’t know why Geder shot him, but he forgave his assailant during the plea hearing.
“I hope you find God for yourself, bro,” Hudson said. “I wish you the best. I’m not mad.”
Geder said that he shot Hudson because he believed Hudson had set him up to be robbed. Geder was living at the extended-stay hotel where Hudson worked as a security guard. Hudson dismissed Geder’s claims as untrue, saying he was making them up as he went along in an attempt to get a shorter sentence.
“Everything he said was lies,” Hudson said. “He was just trying to fight for his own life.”