Dr Charles Lee Scudder

Dr Charles Lee Scudder

Wauwatosa, Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, USA
Death 12 Dec 1982 (aged 56)
Chattooga County, Georgia, USA
Burial Marinette, Marinette County, Wisconsin, USA
Plot G-13-2-5 Ashes buried in family plot.
Memorial ID 114724659 · View Source
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On 12 December 1982, Dr. Charles Lee Scudder and his partner Joseph Odom were robbed and murdered by Samuel Tony West (aka Tony Wells West) a 30 year old unemployed man who had moved to Walker County a month before from Chattanooga and Kenneth Avery Lowrence Brock a 17 year old.

He was the son of Charles Morrison Scudder and Eleanor Edith Lee. He was born in Wauwatosa, Milwaukee County Wisconsin on 6 October 1926.

In the 1940s he studied at Oberlin College and was involved with the school's drama program. He took one of the lead roles in his school's 1945 production of Candida. He married Helen Kilbourne Hayslette on 10 Sep 1946 in St Joseph, Berrien, Michigan, USA. She was born in Chicago, Illinois. They had studied together at Oberlin College. Their marriage soon ended in divorce.

In the early 1950s he married Bourtai Bunting (1931 - living) the daughter of British modernist poet Basil Bunting and Marion Culver. They later separated after having four sons Saul Scudder (1950 - living), Gideon Scudder (1951-living), Fenris S. Scudder (1952-living), and Ahab Scudder (10 August 1953 - 1970).

Scudder was a student of Loyola University under Dr. Alexander Karczmar. After graduation Scudder became the associate director for the Loyola University of Chicago Institute for Mind, Drugs, and Behavior and worked as an associate professor. In an interview years later, Karczmar described his former student, friend, and colleague as being quite eccentric. At times he dyed his hair purple/red. He kept a pet monkey. He bought a mansion on West Adams Street in Chicago and filled it with baroque furniture he had bought from when the Balaban and Katz Chicago Theatre was liquidating furniture. He was also an accomplished harp player and had been invited to play with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

He believed in the unity of the universe and had published the results of his experiments on that subject, according to Dr. Karczmar.

By the 1970s Scudder's sons were all adults. He and Joseph Odom, who he had hired in 1959 to help with his kids continued to live in the mansion on West Adams Street.

On 17 December 1975 after several months of searching for land throughout the south-east, Dr. Scudder bought the south-east quarter of lot 248, 6th Land District of Chattooga County, Georgia for the sum of $10,500 from John S. Cooper of Floyd County.

In 1976, on his 50th birthday, Scudder resigned from LUC and moved with his partner, friend, and housekeeper Joseph Odom to Chattooga County, Georgia in order to live a more simple life style in the mountains of the Chattahooche National Forest. Scudder and Odom built a castle-like house of Scudder's own design on top of a mountain. The house was dubbed Corpsewood Manor in honor of the way the surrounding trees looked when Scudder and Odom arrived that winter. The building of Corpsewood Manor can be found described in full by Dr. Charles Scudder himself in the March/April 1981 edition of Mother Earth News. The article can be found here:


On 12 December 1982, Kenneth Brock, Samuel T. West, Joey Lavon Wells (West's nephew), and Teresa Lynn Hudgins went to Corpsewood. The group of four went up to the third floor of the chicken house (called the Pink Room, where guests were able to stay) with Dr. Scudder, where they drank wine and sniffed "toot-a-lu" (a mixture of varnish, paint thinner, and other things in a plastic bag. Brock had been to the house several times before. Dr. Scudder did not partake in the huffing, but did share with the others home made wine.

Brock left the guest room on the pretence of getting more "toot-a-lu" and returned with a rifle which he pointed at Scudder, and Scudder said, "bang bang" in attempt to diffuse the situation. Wells and Hudgins attempted to leave and went as far as West's vehicle; however, it would not crank. West ordered them back up. They found Brock holding a knife to Scudder's throat. Scudder then stated, "What kind of game are you playing? I'll play any game you want." Brock then began asking him where he kept his money. Scudder was then bound with a bed sheet.

Brock then left the room with the gun and shot Odom four times in the kitchen of Corpsewood Manor, and then killed the two mastiffs who were asleep by a wood heater.

Brock returned and the entire group including Scudder went into the house. When Scudder saw Odom on the floor, he began making moaning noises through the gag. They asked him for a soldering iron and he said he did not have electricity. Scudder got up and attempted to make it over to Odom crying out in pain and saying "I asked for this." He was then shot repeatedly.

The house was then ransacked as they searched for valuables. They attempted to steal Scudder's harp, but it was too big for the vehicle.

West and Brock then stole Scudder's black CJ-5 Jeep and fled westward. They stopped at an I-20 rest six miles from Vicksburg, Mississippi where they stole a car from Navy Lieutenant Kirby Key Phelps and murdered him during the process on 15 December. Lieutenant Phelps was traveling from Jacksonville, FL to San Francisco, CA where he was being reassigned. He was planning on stopping in Oklahoma City to visit his mother for Christmas.

On 16 December, their friend Raymond Williams went to Corpsewood Manor to inform them that a friend, Ray Hood, from Rome had passed away on the 14th. Raymond noticed gunshots in the door, went back down the mountain, and called the sheriff's office. On that same day Teresa Hudgins came forward to the police. A nationwide manhunt soon began.

In Austin, TX after arguing about their plans, West and Brock split up. Brock arrived in Marietta, GA on 20 December and turned himself in to police.

West was later arrested on Christmas Eve in Chattanooga, TN.

While investigating the murders, law enforcement officials found two humans skulls, three vials allegedly filled with LSD-25, numerous occult tools, a small occult library, a large general academic and literature library, and homosexual pornography at Corpsewood Manor, according to newspaper reports at the time. The sheriff office of Chattooga County labelled Scudder and Odom "Devil Worshippers." Also found in the house was a painting of Scudder gagged with blood dripping from five bullet wounds, which Scudder had painted months earlier. The sheriff Gary McConnell had previously tried to bring charges against Dr. Scudder and Joseph Odom for their odd behavior, but was unable to because of freedom of religion.

Their neighbor Raymond Williams, told reporters that, "Charles had joined the Satan church but he said he wasn't a participant. Charles told me he was actually an atheist and that he just joined up to see what it was all about." Raymond Williams like many others in Chattooga County, GA was not aware that the philosophy of the Church of Satan is in fact atheistic and its members do not worship any supernatural being. Dr. Scudder's membership in the Church of Satan has since been confirmed by Magus Peter H. Gilmore and Magistra Blanche Barton, both of the Church of Satan. In fact the founder of the CoS, Anton Szandor LaVey had been in communication with Dr. Scudder. It has been rumored that he had visited Corpsewood, but the Church of Satan has not been able to find absolute proof of a visit and doubt that it occurred. According to Barton, "Dr. LaVey was enraged and grieved by the injustice of what happened to them." LaVey viewed the murders as evidence that there were still areas in the United States where eccentrics were still attacked for holding beliefs outside of the norm. A few weeks before his murder, Scudder had received a birthday card from San Francisco from the Church of Satan that wished him a happy 56th birthday. At a different time after going through some of the CoS archives, Magus Gillmore has stated that documented evidence for Dr. Scudder's involvment in the Church is not documented currently. Friends have stressed that Dr. Scudder being openly gay in a time period where discrimination and worse was common would have made the CoS' policy of anything goes between consenting adults very attractive.

His library included works on a variety of occult subjects including witchcraft and the kabbalah, but was primarily academic and literature books.

During the trial of West and Brock, Dr. Scudder was accused of spiking the wine with LSD in order to try to have oral sex with them. The bottle of wine when tested by police did not have any trace of LSD. West tried to use a defense of involuntary intoxication. The defense attorney went as far to say on the matter of the supposed drugging, "He had a motive because he was a homosexual." The jury ignored this prejudicial line of reasoning. West himself had confessed to a GBI agent that he and Brock had planned the murders and robbery a few days before the killings. West also told the GBI agent that Brock wanted to kill Scudder because Scudder had once engaged in oral sex with the 17-year old.

During the trial, Dr. Karczmar was contacted for an interview. In the interview, Karczmar attested that Scudder was not a drug abuser or a devil worshipper, and that he was dependable. He also said that to his knowledge, Scudder never did any research with LSD and that he seemed to have been the type of person who disapproved of drug use.

Brock plead guilty and was sentenced to three consecutive life terms. West was found guilty during a trial and sentenced to death. Not having the right number of women on the jury led to a retrial for West, which resulted in his guilt being reaffirmed. During his second trial, he was sentenced to three consecutive life sentences.

Brock and West remain in Georgia prisons to this day for the murders, and have been denied parole multiple times.

Dr. Scudder's ashes were taken back to Wisconsin by his sister Janet Scudder Arnold, where they were buried in the family plot on 25 April 1983.

On 5 January 1983 the chicken house suffered a fire.

Dr. Scudder's gold-encrusted harp and a bronze statue of Mephistopheles from Corpsewood had fallen into the possession of famed defense attorney Bobby Lee Cook of Summerville, GA by 1986. Cook had been hired by Scudder's sons Fenris, Saul, and Gideon Scudder to represent their claim to the estate. Joseph Odom's sister also claimed the estate, as Scudder's will had left everything to him.

Works written by Dr. Charles Lee Scudder:

(With Alexander Karczmar) Histochemical studies of cholinesterases in Ciona intestinalis. Comp. Biochem. Physiol. 17: 553-558. (1966)

(With Alexander Karczmar) Learning and effects of drugs on learning of related mice genera and strains. In: Neurophysiology and Behavioral Aspects of Psychotropic Drugs, W. Koella and A. G. Karczmar, Eds., pp. 132–160. (1969).

(With Alexander Karczmar) Aggression and neurochemical changes in different strains and genera of mice. In: Aggressive Behavior, S. Garattini and E. B. Sigg, pp. 209–207. (1969).

"The Brain: A Neurohumorally Regulated Ultrahomestat." General Systems Bulletin, vol III no. 1 (May 1971).
"The Mind An Evolving System of Models." (1975).
"Mindless Meaning; Meaningless Mind"
"On The Environmental Mind"

(With Alexander Karczmar)Behavioral, genetic and neurochemical aspects of alcohol preference of mice. In: Neuro-Psychopharmacology,Proc. Of the Tenth Congress of Col. Internat. Neuro-Psychopharmacologicum, P. Deniker, C. Radouco-Thomas and A. Villeneuve, Eds., pp. 799–816. (1978).

"A Study of the Activity, Behaviour, Intelligence, and Social Norms of Florescent Plastic Cubes" in Challenge to Paradigm.
"A Castle in the Country." Mother Earth News, (March/April 1981).

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  • Created by: PhillW
  • Added: 31 Jul 2013
  • Find a Grave Memorial 114724659
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Dr Charles Lee Scudder (6 Oct 1926–12 Dec 1982), Find a Grave Memorial no. 114724659, citing Forest Home Cemetery, Marinette, Marinette County, Wisconsin, USA ; Maintained by PhillW (contributor 47675628) .