Former trucker Mendenhall has February court date for second murder charge

By Charlie Morasch, Land Line contributing writer | Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A former truck driver currently serving a life sentence in prison for one murder is facing charges in a separate case.

Bruce Mendenhall, the subject of a manhunt by Tennessee law enforcement officers in 2007, was convicted by a jury of first degree murder in the death of 25-year-old Sara Nicole Hulbert. Hulbert was found dead at a Nashville truck stop in 2007.

Mendenhall is scheduled to appear in Wilson County, Tenn., Circuit Court at 1 p.m. Feb. 23, 2015,for a status hearing.  He is charged with first degree murder of 48-year-old Symantha Winters, a court clerk confirmed to Land Line. Mendenhall was a no-show during a preliminary hearing for murder charge in late October.

He is serving time in Nashville’s Riverbend Maximum Security Institution.

Mendenhall was indicted by a grand jury for Winters’ death in August 2007.

Mendenhall is serving a life sentence for Hulbert’s murder, as well as 30 years in prison for conspiracy to commit murder. Mendenhall was apprehended in July 2007 after a detective at a truck stop noticed blood spatter on the door of Mendenhall’s yellow truck. The arrest followed several slayings of young women, some prostitutes, at truck stops in Georgia, Tennessee, Georgia, Indiana and Illinois.

Inside the truck, investigators later revealed, they found a plastic bag with a large quantity of blood, sex toys and at least one body part trophy removed from a victim.

The conspiracy charge came after authorities intercepted Mendenhall’s failed attempt to hire someone to kill a detective who worked on his case and two other witnesses who planned to testify against him. Mendenhall even tried to have one of the contract killings arranged to look like the crimes he was accused of at the time in an effort to make it appear the supposed real killer was still on the loose.

A one-time mayoral candidate in his hometown of Albion, Ill., Mendenhall briefly tried to represent himself in court against the murder charges.

Danny Davis, Mendenhall’s supervisor, told Land Line in 2007 that Mendenhall’s hauling routes matched up with at least two killings investigated by police. Not long before Mendenhall’s arrest, Davis said he was in the truck to examine a mechanical issue and noticed a ‘ratty’ smell.

Davis said then Mendenhall was quiet and was “a good runner.”

Lori Young, wife of OOIDA Member Ken Young, told Land Line in 2010 about her experiences riding in Mendenhall’s truck and renting a house on his property.

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