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Posts Tagged ‘homicide’

Purple Candle 2

This week the trial of Alan Smith began in Snohomish County Superior Court. Smith is accused of murdering his children’s mother and estranged spouse Susann Smith in February of 2013. News coverage has been sparse so far, but the Bothell-Kenmore Reporter  has followed the case all along and will continue to post updates. Matt Phelps and crew– thank you for keeping this in the public eye.

Murder trial begins for Bothell man accused of killing estranged wife

In May of 2013 I wrote the post below, Murdering Susann Smith, which has hundreds of comments attached. I didn’t know when I penned it that it would become a gathering spot for people wanting more information about the case and to share what they knew. The neighborhood where this happened was concerned about their safety and disgusted by what went on at the Smith house after her murder.

For a long time, the primary suspect in the case was free and making a very public affair of his relationship with his new girlfriend, who later committed suicide after giving birth to their child. I still have trouble typing that, especially in light of what he allegedly did to Susann. He treated both women as disposable, as if he was God and had every right to hurt them and then get rid of them. Eventually the police had enough evidence and arrested him.

The brutality of Susann’s death does not resemble a burglary gone wrong as the defense claims. It was targeted, personal, and intended to inflict maximum damage. It shows wicked rage and a deep, seething hatred that had built up like a volcano. I’m surprised that the defense is going with that, that a burglar did it and Alan was at home asleep with his kids when this happened. My knee jerk reaction was, “you’re kidding me.” That is not the angle I thought they’d take, especially in light of the advance planning the police said went on and the evidence.

Returning to what I said in the first paragraph, the media hasn’t taken much of an interest in Susann’s murder. Stories about Alan having sex in his front yard after her murder were read around the world, so the original horror got lost in mankind’s voyeuristic attraction to the sleaze of it all. Imagine if every person who read the public sex story or commented on it in a public forum gave just one dollar to an agency that helps domestic violence victims. Millions of dollars could have been raised.

I’d like to provoke some coverage in the interest of raising awareness of domestic violence and related homicide. Susann Smith was one of 29 victims of domestic violence homicide in Washington State in 2013 and one of two in Snohomish County. This is not rare; it has happened many times before and will happen again. But there is a lot we can do to stop it, and I encourage you to visit some of the domestic violence-related links on the right sidebar to learn more about what you can do to help.

Susann was a beautiful woman who was devoted to her children and I suspect that I would have really liked Susann if I’d met her. But news outlets go for the money making stories, and this case didn’t involve a 21 year-old with perfectly curled hair extensions, false lashes, selfies of her drinking with her girlfriends on Facebook, and a bunch of sordid sexual drama in the marriage. Despite Susann originally being from Germany, I didn’t see this murder case get much international coverage until Alan Smith made sure everyone was seeing how cool he thinks he is by exploiting a woman with mental illness.

Perhaps Susann’s family hasn’t wanted the coverage and just wants to make life as normal for her children as they can. This has undoubtedly been traumatic for both sides of the children’s family and more media coverage might twist all sorts of facts and sensationalize particular elements of the case. But I want people to know that there are many more out there like the man who killed Susann, narcissists who think they’re too smart to get caught and who present a life-threatening danger to their victims. I’ve said it many times before, but men and women alike should be intimately familiar with Sandra L. Brown‘s books How to Spot a Dangerous Man and Women Who Love Psychopaths.

Within a few weeks, a female judge will be deciding Alan Smith’s fate, and I expect that any conviction will be followed by appeals. If you’re a praying person, now is the time to pray. Pray for the Susann’s family. Pray for her children. Pray for the suspect’s family and for Love Thai’s family and little boy, that he would grow up unaffected by all of this sorrow.

Prayer opens windows, inviting God in to comfort the grieving and achieve justice. A trial like this can be like putting the victim’s family through her murder all over again, and this time it might be even worse because some have traveled from another country to be in the courtroom. It might be the first time they’ve been that close to the evidence.

Many people are murdered every year. The utter brutality in this case, which is so blatantly personal, is what’s stood out to me all along. It doesn’t surprise me that the Reporter has noted that Alan Smith has looked blank much of the time. If I am correct about his psychological inclinations, he’s a human shark. He won’t feel remorse or regret over Susann’s death except to the extent that it affects him. He’s not beyond God’s reach or redemption, but that’s between him and God and not something anyone else can work out for him.

Whatever comes of this trial– and I pray that justice would come crashing down like fire from heaven so that no one else can be hurt by this guy– I am reminded that the Creator is keeping score. Yes, Alan is innocent until proven guilty. But his outrageous behavior after Susann’s death, including moving back into the house where her blood had soaked the floors and walls– and planning to move his children in there– has not shouted “shaken father trying to normalize his life.” It’s been more like a chest-beating victory cry to the world, and he only has himself to blame for that. No one did this to him. No one did this for him. No one made him do it. And if he’s guilty, he will have to live– or, if the judge sees fit– die knowing that.

This might come across as judgmental. Perhaps. But I’m a woman who’s spent a lifetime up close and personal with narcissists and sociopaths who are willing to badger, belittle, abuse, exploit, and even want to kill women who stand up for themselves. I have experienced various levels of this in my personal life and in the workplace and have two related degrees. There are elements of this case that resonate with me, and ultimately I don’t see “awesome” or “criminal mastermind.” I see cowardice. I see someone who couldn’t own their feelings or actions and robbed two beautiful children of their mother in some sort of demonic act of vengeance.

It’s in God’s hands. And if I were an abuser, or someone who exploits others, or a killer, I’d be at least a little concerned about what He’s going to say when He asks for an account of my life. Who will have the guts to say, “she deserved it” or “it was coming to her?” In light of my belief that what we do in this life determines our station in eternity, that this is the testing ground for what comes next, “oh God, what have I done?” is a much more realistic answer. And the sooner those words are spoken, the more likely it will be that the person saying them won’t choose a forever separate from God’s love.

I can’t provide up to the minute news coverage of this trial but will post things as they’re sent to me or as I come across them. I will approve comments as soon as I can. I don’t make a dime from blogging so you know this isn’t financially motivated. This is about keeping the spotlight on domestic violence, achieving justice for those involved, and remembering a woman who was put through the worst kind of hell for having the courage to move on.

The next Susann Smith could be in the same room with you– what are you doing to help them to safety?

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Please take the time to become familiar with the Document the Abuse website and the Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit featured there. If you are affected by domestic violence, make it impossible for your abuser to get away with it no matter what happens.

Also, check out Susan Murphy Milano’s Times Up! A Guide on How to Leave and Survive Abusive and Stalking Relationships. Susan was our fearless leader at the Time’s Up crime victims advocacy blog until she passed away a couple of years ago. We continue our crusade for justice in her memory.

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©2015 H. Hiatt/wildninja.wordpress.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninja.wordpress.com.

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Purple CandleIt was one year ago today that Bothell resident Susann Smith was savagely murdered at her home. It is one of the most horrific domestic violence homicides I know of. This German-born mother of two was subjected to deliberate violations and atrocities designed to maximize her suffering and ultimately take her life. (more…)

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Scales of Justice

954, you will not be forgotten.

That’s how I concluded my January 12th, 2012 post on the murder of former Washington State trooper Ronda Reynolds. The post’s title was borrowed from the Ann Rule book about her death, In the Still of the Night. 

Yesterday The Chronicle in Lewis County reported that Reynolds former husband and stepson are after big bucks in court to be “compensated” for their supposedly unfair treatment.

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On July 15th, 1982, children found the body of 16 year-old Wendy Coffield in the Green River near Kent, Washington. She’d been strangled with her own clothing.

Coffield was the first victim of the Green River Killer to be found. Even after a second victim was found police had a difficult time believing that they were dealing with a serial killer. It was largely through the risky and remarkable efforts spearheaded by now Congressman Dave Reichert (formerly of the King County Sheriff’s Office) and Bob Keppel, the chief investigator of the Washington State Attorney General’s Office at the time, that the Green River Killer was eventually caught.

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Delbert Belton

From KXLY in Spokane:

WWII veteran Delbert Belton survived being wounded in action during the Battle of Okinawa only to be beaten and left for dead by two teens at the Eagles Lodge in Spokane on Wednesday evening.

Belton, 88, succumbed to his injuries Thursday morning at Sacred Heart Medical Center. (more…)

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Susan Cox Powell, 2008. Click on image to view video. From http://fox13now.com.

Susan Cox Powell, 2008. Click on image to view parts of video. From http://fox13now.com.

KOMO News has revealed that missing and presumed murdered Susan Cox Powell made a video documenting the state of her marriage in 2008– and had a secret will and testament that told people if she dies, it’s not an accident. See: http://www.komonews.com/news/local/Police-release-chilling-video-Susan-Powell-made-before-disappearance-208583251.html

This is what victims of abuse and those concerned with their family’s well-being SHOULD do! If you are not familiar with the Document the Abuse website, http://documenttheabuse.com/, please visit it now. Not only should everyone know about this website, but they should share it with anyone in a bad relationship.

Note the reference in the video to Susan being a “financially and emotionally abused woman”– that’s how it can start, and death can be the end result. Don’t ignore abuse just because someone doesn’t have bruises or hasn’t been to the hospital. It’s still domestic violence and the victim most definitely needs help– BEFORE it escalates, not when it does. By then it could be too late. Also note that the fact that Susan made this video and wrote up a will shows that she knew he could kill her.  (more…)

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WA Justice

It has been a busy week in domestic violence and homicide news here in Washington State. You can search this blog (see the box at the upper right corner) for more posts on each case.

Robert Yates

Last Friday, convicted serial killer Robert Yates filed an appeal in federal court in an attempt to escape the death penalty again. The State Supreme Court already upheld the death penalty in this case and the U.S. Supreme Court didn’t touch that.

Now Yates, also known as the Spokane Serial Killer, claims that he had ineffective counsel that failed to highlight supposed mental illness. He also says they didn’t showcase his many positive aspects including his positive, loving relationships such as with his family members and his “acts of caring and kindness.” (more…)

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