• October 26, 2020

Cold case accused killer booked into Ector County jail - Odessa American: Felony Arrests

e-Edition Subscribe

Cold case accused killer booked into Ector County jail

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Friday, October 9, 2020 5:16 pm

The 58-year-old man, who was arrested after his DNA from a cigarette butt matched a semen sample that was collected from a fatal stabbing that happened in 1982, was booked into the Ector County Law Enforcement Center on Thursday night.

Billy Wayne Ludwigson, 58, was charged Sept. 30 with murder, a first-degree felony.

Ludwigson was extradited from Denver to Odessa and he was booked into the Ector County jail at 8:17 p.m. Thursday, jail records show. He has one bond totaling $500,000 and was still in custody as of Friday afternoon.

Jail records detailed that Ludwigson was indicted by an Ector County Grand Jury for the murder charge.

The reported fatal stabbing happened between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m. April 19, 1982, near a culvert on the west side of the Permian Mall, which was now known as Music City Mall, near Tanglewood Lane, an Odessa Police Department affidavit detailed.

Velma Nettie Nesset, 64, was employed by the Permian Mall and she commonly walked from her apartment, which was located two blocks west of the Permian Mall to start her shift at 5 a.m. On April 19, 1982, Nesset failed to arrive for work and didn’t call in sick.

Throughout the morning, mall employees reportedly called Nesset’s residence and searched the area between her apartment and the mall. Nesset’s daughter searched her apartment reported her missing to OPD.

At 12:58 p.m. April 19, 1982, an OPD officer found Nesset in a drainage culvert on the west side of the Permian Mall near Tanglewood Lane. She was lying supine and was stabbed in her throat, the affidavit stated. Her shirt was lifted and exposed her lower torso. Her pants and underwear had been pulled down, which exposed her genitalia.

An autopsy reportedly showed that Nesset’s cause of death to be exsanguinations secondary to the stab wound in her neck. Nesset’s death was estimated between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m. on April 19, 1982.

During the initial investigation, Nesset’s coworker reported that on April 19, 1982, at 4:30 a.m. while traveling to work they saw a white male between 18-19 years old, walking north on Tanglewood Lane in the immediate vicinity of the culvert that Nesset was found. The witness stated the man to be medium build with dark, wavy, neck length hair.

In 2007, a forensic examination was performed on the clothing Nesset wore, the affidavit stated. A semen stain was found from the exterior portion of a jacket Nesset wore at the time of her death. A DNA profile was obtained from the stain and submitted to Combined DNA Index Systems.

Ludwigson, who resided in Colorado in July 2020, was reportedly identified as a potential suspect. A criminal history check showed that he had been arrested on March 13, 1982, and March 28, 1982, by OPD which was within weeks of Nesset’s death.

A review of the 1982 booking photos showed that Ludwigson matched the physical description of the individual described by the witness in the area of the fatal stabbing, the affidavit stated.

On July 10, 2020, physical surveillance was reportedly conducted on Ludwigson’s last known address. Ludwigson walked to a nearby restaurant and purchased to-go meals, before walking back to his residence. He was positively identified using known information on scars, tattoos as well as photo comparisons.

A day later, Ludwigson was sitting at a public bus stop and while at the bus stop he hand-rolled a cigarette, the affidavit stated. He smoked the cigarette and discarded the cigarette butt on a public street in front of the bench where he sat. The cigarette butt was recovered and submitted to the crime laboratory for analysis.

A DNA profile was reportedly obtained from the cigarette butt was submitted to the Texas Department of Public Safety Crime Laboratory to be compared to the semen sample. Laboratory analysis showed that Ludwigson was confirmed to be the contributor to the semen sample.

Odessa, TX

Current Conditions

Humidity: 93%
Winds: NNE at 19mph
Feels Like: 25°

Your Extended Forecast


High 37°/Low 27°
Cloudy. Highs in the upper 30s and lows in the upper 20s.


High 32°/Low 30°
Wintry mix of precipitation. Highs in the low 30s with temperatures nearly steady overnight.


High 52°/Low 37°
More sun than clouds. Highs in the low 50s and lows in the upper 30s.
Online Features

Pet Central


Having a pet is a lot of responsibility, and we’ll help by giving you lots of tips and tricks! More >>



Our fitness articles will help teach you how to work out with gym- and home-based exercises. More >>



Enjoy the crosswords challenge in our free daily puzzles, from the harder Sunday crossword to the quicker daily. More >>



Every Sudoku has a unique solution that can be reached logically. Enter numbers into the blank spaces so that each row, column and 3x3 box contains the numbers 1 to 9. More >>

  • ALL-ACCESS: Subscribe to our e-edition and premium website at myoaoa.com.
    You can read your daily newspaper without taking a walk to the driveway.
    Look back at yesterday's newspaper, or issues from months ago with our archive feature.
    Call circulation at 432-337-7314 to sign up today.