State of Missouri v. Keith A. Smith

944 S.W.2d 901 (Mo.banc 1997)

10/28/03 – Death sentence commuted to life without parole by Missouri Supreme Court.

Case Facts: Beginning in August 1991, Smith periodically stayed at the home of Reverend Parris Campbell as a guest. Some time between eight o’clock and nine on the evening of November 17, 1991, Annie Miller, Rev. Campbell’s housekeeper, was in the kitchen preparing dinner for Smith and Rev. Campbell. Around this time, Rev. Campbell went downstairs to the family room and began talking to Smith. Smith attacked Rev. Campbell and began choking him with his arm. Smith then grabbed an electrical cord that was lying on a table, wrapped it around Rev. Campbell’s neck and continues to choke him. Smith left Rev. Campbell, went upstairs to the kitchen, found a knife, came back downstairs, and began stabbing him.

At some point, Alphonso Smith, Smith’s fifteen-year-old cousin, came to the back door, and Smith let him in. Smith told Alphonso to make sure Rev. Campbell was dead. Smith then went back upstairs to the kitchen and told Annie Miller that Rev. Campbell needed her downstairs. Miller began down the stairs with Smith behind her. Smith grabbed her by the neck and began to choke her. He then wrapped an electrical cord around her neck and continued to choke her until she fell to the floor. Smith went back upstairs to the kitchen, grabbed a knife, and returned downstairs. Then he went upstairs again, this time grabbed a pair of scissors, went back downstairs, and began stabbing her with the scissors.

Smith dragged the bodies into the garage, where Rev. Campbell kept two cars. Smith put both of the bodies into the trunk of one car. In the other car, Smith put his belongings, along with Rev. Campbell’s checkbook, credit cards, cash, gold jewelry, gun and stereo speakers. Smith and Alphonso fled in this car and picked up Smith’s girlfriend, Sylvia Ware. Smith told Ware of the killings in detail.

On November 23, 1991, the police discovered the bodies in the trunk of the car parked in the garage. Three pieces of electrical cord were also found in the trunk, including one still wrapped around Annie Miller’s neck.