Smithson Trial Enters Third Day
I'm pretty sure it's the fact that I know Bill that makes me at least a little sympathetic towards him and his situation. But when you think of the crime he is accused of committing well, if it happened like ADA Tom Lawrie says, Smithson was nothing less than a predatory monster the night Jason Shephard was killed.
The prosecutor's narrative is this: Smithson becomes attracted to the much younger Shephard at work. He lures the intern from South Dakota back to his Thornbury Township home. He arranges for a date-rape drug to be supplied so he can drug his victim, making him easier to overpower and then rape.
When the drug doesn't work well enough and a weakened Shephard attempts to fight off his attacker, Smithson, hopped up on crystal meth, chokes the life out of him.
If this had been a case of a 41-year-old man accused luring a 23-year-old woman to his home, drugging and killing her, there is no question a prosecutor would be seeking the death penalty as well.
Yesterday, medical examiner Dr. Bennett Preston testified that Shephard was strangled from behind with some sort of rope or cord. He said it would have taken 2 to 3 minutes to have rendered Shephard unconscious and another one to two minutes to kill him. He identified bruises on Shephard's arms as defensive wounds. He made it clear this was no "accident," as Smithson allegedly suggested to his former lover Daniel Hall.
Later testimony from Shephard's old girlfriend painted him as heterosexual to the nth degree and borderline homophobic.
In the courtroom, more and more supporters of the Shephard family continue to show up, apparently from South Dakota. The entire back bench is filled with spectators.
The appearance of F. Bruce Covington is expected today. He is the man who Hall says provided crystal meth and GHB to Smithson and himself for sex parties, in the hopes of getting a little action himself. Covington was allegedly at Smithson's house the night Shephard was killed.
Hall claims Covington, who is in his mid-fifties, used to "creep out" other party-goers at Smithson's house. The irony of this is apparently lost on Hall who managed to creep out an entire courtroom with his testimony describing the lifestyle he apparently hoped to resume with Smithson when he drove from Virginia Beach to Glen Mills two years ago.
Now, after testifying against his old "partner" Hall comes to court and sits with Smithson's family members and friends, apparently as a show of support.