02/23/2012 02:43 pm ET

Jerry L. Hudson Admits To Shooting Ex-Wife Six Times, But Claims 'Self Defense' In Court

A Bolingbrook man who shot his ex-wife to death on New Year's Day 2010 is arguing in court that the six shots he fired at the unarmed woman were in self-defense.

Jerry L. Hudson, 51, admits that he shot and killed 45-year-old Melissa Bridgewater in the parking lot of an Oak Brook hotel where she was staying with her boyfriend, the Daily Herald reports. But Hudson's attorney argued Wednesday that jurors must consider "what's going on in Jerry Hudson's mind" at the time of the killing.

Attorney John Lyke Jr. said in his opening statement that Hudson bumped Bridgewater's vehicle with his own to "get her attention" just after 6 a.m. as she left the hotel on New Year's Day, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. When he saw her reach into her car's console, Lyke says Hudson believed Bridgewater was retrieving a gun, and fired his own.

No weapon was found in Bridgewater's Acura after Hudson's shots struck her in the head and back, but Lyke told jurors the early-morning darkness explains Hudson's mistake, according to the Daily Herald. Lyke also promised that Hudson's testimony will recount some misleading remarks from his ex-wife that further explain his confusion.

But prosecutors argue that evidence suggests Hudson's actions were premeditated. DuPage County First Assistant State's Attorney Mary Cronin pointed to letters Hudson left at his home, accusing Bridgewater of "[taking] my manhood" and promising to "take her with me," the Chicago Tribune reports.

Bridgewater's boyfriend, Marvin Durr, testified that Bridgewater and Hudson had had a heated phone conversation shortly before she left the hotel, and prosecutors say there were 20 more phone calls from Hudson to Bridgewater's phone that morning, according to the Tribune. Cronin also noted that Bridgewater asked a security guard to escort her to her car before the altercation, suggesting she feared for her safety.

Hudson faces first-degree murder charges in the ongoing trial.