Jerry Summers: Corpsewood Manor Murders

Tuesday, November 10, 2020 - by Jerry Summers
Jerry Summers
Jerry Summers

Although attorney Amy Petulla’s 2016 novel on the above topic arising out of the bloody murders in December 1982, violates my normal rule of not writing about any event within five years of the date of publication, it is an important historical story and needs to be repeated.

Corpsewood Manor was a castle built in the woods of Chattooga County, Georgia in Trion as a home for two party-loving Satanists.

The castle had been built by a former professor at Loyola University in Chicago in the school of pharmacology and assistant director of the Institute for the Study of Mind Drugs and Behavior, Dr.

Charles Scudder and his housekeeper/companion, Joey Odom, who moved to the area in 1976.

The two built the castle by hand in the woods, filled it with satanic symbols and named it Corpeswood after the graveyard of denuded trees on the premises.

According to local rumor, Scudder had claimed that he invoked a demon to protect their estate.

To add further credence the two hosts had two massive English Mastiffs, with the appropriate names of Beelzebub (the prince of devils in the Bible) and Arsinath (named for a character in a Howard Phillips Lovecraft novel (who was an American writer of weird and horror fiction).

According to stories, the two former residents of Illinois, were atheists who worshiped sexual pleasure rather than God and allegedly threw sex parties for both locals and other out of town participants.

Prior to moving to Trion, Dr. Scudder had resigned from the medical school at Loyola but before leaving had appropriated 12,000 doses of the psychedelic mind-expanding drug LSD-25.

For some unknown reason he had also taken two human skulls which would become part of the satanic rituals at the castle.

Over a period of time Dr. Scudder and his companion built the facility on the 45-acre plot that had been bought from a seller for $10,000.

The bizarre activities described in Amy Petulla’s 137-page book include the activities engaged in between the two residents and visitors to the castle iand the sensational topics of sex and drugs and leave little to the imagination of the curious reader.

A primer on the use and effects of LSD and its use of the drug of choice in the 1970s is described in great detail.

The combination of drugs, homemade wine made by Dr. Scudder and the group activities involving multiple partners in gay activities quickly made the national news media when the brutal murders of Scudder and Odom were discovered.

The accused killers were Kenneth Avery Brock, age 17 in 1982, and Samuel (Tony) West, both willing participants in the various activities performed by consenting parties in what was called the “Chicken House”, a large open room on the third floor of said building.

Brock allegedly had been abused and ultimately kicked out of his home by his father and began stealing just to eat.

West carried the mental scars of having shot and killed his two-year-old nephew when he was around 13 years old while playing with a loaded gun.  As a result West had a lengthy record of psychological or psychiatric treatment over the years and had been sent to a mental institution until he was eighteen after the fatal shooting of his young nephew.

In 1982 at the age of 30, West had a violent felony record and Brock that year moved into West’s derelict trailer.

After one visit to the castle the two decided to rob Scudder and Odom after the eventual criminal defendants had been improperly propositioned by the two gay men after plying Brock and West with large quantities of the doctor’s homemade muscadine wine.

The rest of the story as vividly told in the book of the brutal torture and killings of the occupants and their giant dogs constantly whetted the curiosity of the news media, press and public throughout the sensational trial in the Superior Court of Chattooga County in Summerville, Georgia. The case was heard by the stern and experienced trial judge, the Honorable Joseph E. “Bo” Loggins, a member of the judiciary since 1977 and a 1955 graduate of the Woodrow Wilson College of Law night law school in Atlanta.

When the case came to trial it was described as “The Devil Worshipers Murder Case” and one lawyer in the trial described the proceedings as “It was like the circus had come to town”.

Space will not allow me to detail all of the events of the historical and grizzly facts of the rest of the events, the gory evidence and the jury verdict.

The book written in 2016 was published by The History Press of Charleston, South Carolina and is still available on the usual website sources.

The author has written a second book titled “Haunted Chattanooga” and also has a business providing walking tours of the locations involved with paranormal spirits in the “Gig City” named “Chattanooga Ghost Tours”.

However they pale in comparison with the many aspects of the Corpsewood Manor Murders in Northwest Georgia!

* * *

Jerry Summers

(If you have additional information about one of Mr. Summers' articles or have suggestions or ideas about a future Chattanooga area historical piece, please contact Mr. Summers at jsummers@summersfirm.com)  

           


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