A Saga of a Camp Nelson Murder
Camp Nelson became famous as a result of this story.
It begins with the purchase of the Camp Nelson lodge by Bonnie and husband James Hood. Years previous, as a young girl, Bonnie had enjoyed the scenes and life of this beautiful mountain site. James Hood had become very successful and wealthy as a developer in the area of New Port Beach. Now the lodge at Camp Nelson came up for sale and as a result of their wealth they were able to buy this famous site.
The Hood’s planned that Bonnie would spend most of her time at Camp Nelson while her husband would continue with his business activities at New Port Beach. Their two teenaged children would continue to live their father. This arrangement went on for a few years, with limited success. Apparently the operation of lodge was far more costly than they had planned. Another sad fact was that the business in New Port Beach had fallen to such an extent that James Hood was feeling what could become a financial disaster.
The story now changes for the worst. In years past James Hood had taken out an insurance policy of one million dollars on the life of Bonnie Hood. She was now worth more dead than alive. Also their marriage was no longer a bed of roses
The residents of Camp Nelson were watching the events at the lodge very closely they may not have owned any part of it but they felt their duty to suggest means for more success. One of the miner actors in the coming event was Mike Miller who was the bar tender at the lodge and also a friend to everyone. It so happened that he served a drink or two to the individual who would be the main criminal in the following story. This man was Bruce Beaucham. He had a very interesting past as a drug addict and also criminal activities. The people of Camp Nelson closely watched him in the area for a number of days. Another individual in this story was Rudy Manuel of the Tule Indian Reservation.. He was kind of a grunt for many small jobs. As it turned out there were personal needs of Bonnie. This is strange because there were many males around who would have been happy to supply this need.
Now comes the main event; Bonnie and Rudy were happily sleeping when here comes a man with a gun. Bonnie died with the first shot. Rudy was more fortunate, even though he had a shot in the head he still lived.
The law was now in charge. Although their investigations were poorly done, they were, convinced that Beaucham pulled the trigger. But he went free because one of the jury was not convinced.
The story now goes south to New Port Beach. It was never stated the money figure that James Hood gave Bruce Beaucham for the trigger job. Mr Beaucham began to threaten James Hood with exposure unless he could come up more thousands of dollars. An appointment was set up for an agreement. James Hood was ready with his own gun. He now shot Mr Beaucham seven times. He placed a gun in Mr Beaucham’s right hand. He now made a 911 call which was recorded and now repeatedly sreamed into the phone that he had just shot a man. The police now appeared and a close investigation followed. James Hood carefully told the story of what had taken place. In the trial that followed he more or less proved that his life was threatened by Mr Beaucham. He was now acquitted.
This story must continue to the last trial. The law was now learning from further investigation that they had made a mistake in the last trial. It was proved that poor Mr Beaucham was left handed. Poor James Hood had placed the gun in the wrong hand.
James Hood now resides in a California prison, likely for the rest of his life. Sonny Rouch