National Park killer does a repeat after parole

National Park killer does a repeat after parole

This is a discussion on National Park killer does a repeat after parole within the In the News: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly forums, part of the The Back Porch category; washingtonpost.com '81 Killer Dies in Jail After 2 Campers Shot Suspect Was Paroled in Slaying of Hikers By Bill Brubaker Washington Post Staff Writer Tuesday, ...

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Thread: National Park killer does a repeat after parole

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array paramedic70002's Avatar
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    National Park killer does a repeat after parole

    washingtonpost.com

    '81 Killer Dies in Jail After 2 Campers Shot
    Suspect Was Paroled in Slaying of Hikers

    By Bill Brubaker
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Tuesday, May 13, 2008; B06

    A once-notorious southwest Virginia man died in jail Saturday night, a day after he was charged with shooting and wounding two campers on the Appalachian Trail, not far from the isolated area where he killed two hikers in 1981, authorities said.

    Randall Lee Smith, 54, was hospitalized with multiple injuries Tuesday night after crashing a pickup -- stolen from one of the victims -- during a police chase, Lt. Ron Hamlin of the Giles County Sheriff's Department said yesterday. Smith was jailed Friday after being discharged from a hospital in Roanoke. He faced several felony charges, including attempted capital murder.

    About 5 p.m. Saturday, he was found unresponsive in a cell in the medical ward of New River Valley Regional Jail in Dublin, Va., officials said. He was pronounced dead an hour later at a hospital.

    Smith apparently did not commit suicide, Hamlin said. But he seemed to have a death wish, the deputy sheriff added.

    "He had some shoulder injuries, a laceration to the head and a lower back injury," Hamlin said. "We interviewed him on Friday, and he said he was ready for death. He said what else was there for him? He said death was the only thing for him to do. He looked pretty frail, and he looked like a man on a mission. And the mission was that he wanted to die."

    An autopsy will be performed by the Virginia medical examiner's office in Roanoke, Hamlin said.

    The victims in Tuesday's shooting were treated at a Roanoke hospital and released. "They're both doing fine," Hamlin said.

    The shootings brought back chilling memories of the spring 1981 discovery of two decomposing bodies in shallow graves near Pearisburg, Va., a town near the Appalachian Trial, about 270 miles southwest of Washington.

    Susan Ramsay and Robert Mountford Jr., 27-year-old social workers from Ellsworth, Maine, had been hiking and camping on the popular trail. Ramsey was stabbed more than a dozen times in the back. Mountford was shot three times in the head.

    Smith was captured about two weeks later in a wooded area of Myrtle Beach, S.C., by a dozen police officers and FBI agents. He pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and spent 14 years in prison.

    By all accounts, Smith had led a quiet, if at times impoverished, life since his release in 1996, according to Hamlin, one of several investigators who interviewed the suspect Friday.

    "I understand he was a model inmate when he was in prison, and he was off probation," Hamlin said. "He had been living in his mother's house in Pearisburg. His mother died [in 2000], and he told me he lived off his mother's inheritance for a while. Then he ran out of money. The comment he made to me was, 'That pushed me out of society.' "

    In early March, Smith left home with his dog and headed into the woods, Hamlin said. "The Appalachian Trail is directly behind his mother's house," he said.

    On Tuesday, Smith befriended two campers on the trail, spending about three hours talking and sharing a meal around a campfire with Scott Johnston, 37, of Bluefield, Va., and Sean Farmer, 33, of Tazewell, Va., officials said.

    About 8 p.m., Smith "just got up from his chair around the fire and said, 'I gotta go,' " Hamlin said, recounting what the victims had told investigators. "Then he stood up and starting popping them [with a gun]. It was like firecrackers. Pop, pop, pop, pop, pop."

    Johnston was shot in the back and neck; Farmer, in the face and chest.

    Smith was captured driving Johnston's pickup.

    On Friday, Giles County investigators asked Smith whether he had fired the shots.

    "He said, 'Yes,' " Hamlin said. "But then he would say, 'I don't remember.' It was a back-and-forth thing."
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    VIP Member Array Ridgeline's Avatar
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    "We interviewed him on Friday, and he said he was ready for death. He said what else was there for him?

    I would venture to say that today he is seeing what else is there for him. I would think he would give anything to replay that final day, and maybe take a detour from Hell. But then that was his decision.
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    Senior Member Array dcb188's Avatar
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    He might have been ready for death but his victims sure were not. But since when did a savage care about victims?
    Surrounded and outnumbered, Marine Col Lewis Puller: "Good! We finally got 'em where we want 'em!" (Korea, 1950)
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    Good riddance!
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    Senior Member Array Slim_45's Avatar
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    About 5 p.m. Saturday, he was found unresponsive in a cell in the medical ward of New River Valley Regional Jail in Dublin, Va., officials said. He was pronounced dead an hour later at a hospital.
    Looks like the scumbag got off easy
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    Distinguished Member Array sniper58's Avatar
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    I doubt this will have any bearing in the anti's thought process when it comes time for the Nat'l Parks Carry Bill.............................
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    Senior Member Array sui-juris's Avatar
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    Smith was captured about two weeks later in a wooded area of Myrtle Beach, S.C., by a dozen police officers and FBI agents. He pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and spent 14 years in prison.
    Anyone else find this outrageous? Good thing he wasn't found w/some crack cocaine, maybe he would've gotten another 20 yrs..
    "I understand he was a model inmate when he was in prison, and he was off probation," Hamlin said. "He had been living in his mother's house in Pearisburg. His mother died [in 2000], and he told me he lived off his mother's inheritance for a while. Then he ran out of money. The comment he made to me was, 'That pushed me out of society.' "
    Sniff sniff..
    " Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master." George Washington

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    Senior Member Array bluelineman's Avatar
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    Letting him out in the first place? Sounds like a good reason to fire up old sparky for those convicted of these crimes. Maybe these people would be alive today.

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    Member Array Mike78's Avatar
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    How the hell can you murder 2 people and serve only 14 years. I tell ya our justice system is the problem. We need judges with a backbone and not these liberal pansies that coddle these dirtbags of society. These murders should be put to death and not sit on death row for 20 years either.

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    Reminds me of the low-life thug that killed Sgt Liczbinski in Philadelphia recently. He had a rap sheet 15 pages long which included weapons charges, and yet he was out on the street. Until America solves its criminal problem, it will never solve its crime problem. Violent criminals need to be locked up for long periods of time with no pardons, paroles, probation or plea bargains. Keep them away from us.
    Raising children is like being pecked to death by a chicken every day.

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    Easy way out for him.
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    And there are still many out there who don't want honest legal permit holders to have the right to carry in National Parks.
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    #6 - No, sniper58, they will just say it proves that laws against guns are needed more than ever as he would not have been armed had there been enough laws.

    ("Reality? Reality? We don't need no stinken reality.")

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    Senior Member Array gwhall57's Avatar
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    Good riddance. In this case, he should have received the death penalty for his first murders in 1981. Say what you want about the morality of the death penalty, it is one definite way to ensure that a murderer does not ever get the chance to repeat his/her crime.
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    Senior Member Array dcb188's Avatar
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    What were the lives of his first two victims worth? About ten years each. That is not enough. He should never have been roaming the woods to kill again. He should have been roaming his cell, thinking about 1981.
    But I guess they thought he was rehabilitated. And of course, he is, now.
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