GUILTY VA - Tina Smith, 41, slain, 12yo daughter abducted, Salem, 2 Dec 2010 - #8

imamaze

Former Member
Joined
Feb 12, 2005
Messages
21,123
Reaction score
224
Easley: Brittany Smith rode along voluntarily
Accused abductor Jeffrey Easley said in a letter from jail that 12-year-old Brittany Smith was his willing cross-country travelling companion.
"I did not kidnapp her or take her aginest her will," Easley, 32, wrote in a letter postmarked Thursday from the Western Virginia Regional Jail. "She made me promise not to leave her."
More...
 

tlcya

Old and Tired Websleuth
Joined
Oct 28, 2009
Messages
39,016
Reaction score
33,441
RSBM

Sounds like he's setting up exactly what I thought he would. Someone else did it, he and/or BS discovered it and ran for their own safety. *throwing a big :censored: flag at that one!*

worse. To me it sounds like he is setting up another tale to tell. One in which blame for a murder is assigned to a minor and he was simply protecting that minor to honor a promise made to her and her mother.

I am going to be sick. .
 

Sono

Member
Joined
Mar 12, 2010
Messages
39
Reaction score
17
Why would BMS hire an attorney who is known for defending an 8 year old charged with beating his stepfather to death?
 

tlcya

Old and Tired Websleuth
Joined
Oct 28, 2009
Messages
39,016
Reaction score
33,441
Why would BMS hire an attorney who is known for defending an 8 year old charged with beating his stepfather to death?

given that BMS is a minor and not in the position to hire anyone, I would think that that question should be posed to her father. I am gonna go out on a limb here and say that perhaps he hired someone with that background because he may be aware that JE is making statements that may suggest some involvment by said minor. IDK, I am simply trying to connect those dots without making any suggestion or speculation as to whether said minor has involvement.
 

Lysistrata

New Member
Joined
Dec 9, 2010
Messages
56
Reaction score
2
Altavista, VA is less than an hour away from South Boston (where BMS lives now)...this area is pretty rural and lacks a significant interstate highway presence. My thought was that finding an atty reasonably close by that has this kind of experience was actually a god-send for BMS and her family. Regardless of whether BMS was actually physically involved, she was, at the least, peripherally involved simply because it was her mom who was killed and her mom's live-in BF who, immediately after the murder, took her cross-country.

There are very few attorneys in the country who have been involved in cases involving the murder of a parent where a child is even tangentially involved. That this man HAS had such experience, and was successful in his defense of the 8 yr old, would put him at the top of the list for just about anyone whose child is somehow enmeshed in such a situation. That he is less than an hour's drive from BMS is an incredible stroke of luck for her, IMHO. Why would her family hire anyone else?

I don't think their choice of attys inculpates BMS at all...I think it says they were smart enough to recognize how complicated this situation is and what a delusional wing-nut they're facing (JSE) as the LE sorts through evidence and conducts interviews. It's pretty obvious that JSE isn't going to play fairly or stick to the actual facts. I think the Smiths were smart to hire someone close by who has dealt with a somewhat similar situation years ago. Kids can get short-shrift in court proceedings if they don't have someone familiar with the tactics looking out for them.

This Mr. Berger is actually just a small-town general practice lawyer...he probably handles more DUI's, real estate closings, and divorces than anything else. He just happened to help an 8 yr old involved in a dreadful situation 13-14 yrs ago and will remember some of the in's and out's of dealing with "the system" as it pertains to children. Why would the Smiths NOT hire him? With JSE running his mouth (or pushing his pencil, as the case may be), BMS's situation is precarious at best despite her actual degree of innocence.

I'd have been much more alarmed had they hired the firm with the best name in the area (still small, but, once-upon-a-time, politically connected and still believed, erroneously so, to be 'good') but with no experience with kids in serious situations or had searched the country for some big-name. That they found someone practically in their backyard who once worked with another child in maybe a somewhat similar situation was just luck IMHO.
 

Tugela

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2011
Messages
2,717
Reaction score
454
The fact that no murder charges have been filed and the apparent uncertainty about whether she had been murdered in the beginning (it was suspected foul play even though they had the body) makes me think that perhaps she wasn't murdered after all. Plus the kid didn't seem all that distressed at the memorial service they had. If it had been a murder you would have thought they wouldn't have exposed her to the public like that, and if they did she would have been a wreck. The DA/LE certainly seem very hesitant about the murder charge, when you would have thought it would be cut and dried if it was so. Something is not right.

Possible the mother was just dead under suspicious circumstances with the daughter gone, and with the onset of decay of the body they just went with the worst assumption, which then didn't pan out after more detailed autopsy. If that was the case then they would be left with the abduction (if it actually was an abduction), with the loose ends under consideration being various theft charges possibly for stuff that might have been removed afterwards.
 

Tugela

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2011
Messages
2,717
Reaction score
454
Even if Brittany willingly accompanied Easley, the law doesn't care. She's 12, not old enough to give legal consent, police and prosecutors have said.
(from http://www.roanoke.com/news/roanoke/wb/275356)

That is an odd thing to say. It suggests that they know she left willingly with him, or at least don't know the answer to that question, otherwise why say it at all?
 

Lysistrata

New Member
Joined
Dec 9, 2010
Messages
56
Reaction score
2
(from http://www.roanoke.com/news/roanoke/wb/275356)

That is an odd thing to say. It suggests that they know she left willingly with him, or at least don't know the answer to that question, otherwise why say it at all?

" Even if Brittany willingly accompanied Easley, the law doesn't care. She's 12, not old enough to give legal consent, police and prosecutors have said."

I'm not sure I understand why you believe this is an odd thing for LE and the prosecutors to say. They were simply rebutting Easley's stmt that BMS had gone with him willingly by saying that under the law, there can be no willingness on the part of BMS...she's too young to make that decision/choice. Even assuming that Easley didn't tie her up or force her into the vehicle, she cannot be considered to have gone willingly under the law. After Easley made his stmt, LE and the prosecutors had to clarify that any lack of physical force/coercion by Easley cannot translate to BMS having gone with him "willingly" under the law. In short, the child was abducted.
 

Lysistrata

New Member
Joined
Dec 9, 2010
Messages
56
Reaction score
2
The fact that no murder charges have been filed and the apparent uncertainty about whether she had been murdered in the beginning (it was suspected foul play even though they had the body) makes me think that perhaps she wasn't murdered after all. Plus the kid didn't seem all that distressed at the memorial service they had. If it had been a murder you would have thought they wouldn't have exposed her to the public like that, and if they did she would have been a wreck. The DA/LE certainly seem very hesitant about the murder charge, when you would have thought it would be cut and dried if it was so. Something is not right.

Possible the mother was just dead under suspicious circumstances with the daughter gone, and with the onset of decay of the body they just went with the worst assumption, which then didn't pan out after more detailed autopsy. If that was the case then they would be left with the abduction (if it actually was an abduction), with the loose ends under consideration being various theft charges possibly for stuff that might have been removed afterward.

I'm again not sure I understand what you're trying to say. Are you saying that perhaps Tina died of natural causes or committed suicide? That JSE and BMS just found her dead, panicked and ran? That this is all an unfortunate set of coincidences and bad choices?

Why, then, would LE and prosecutors continue to use words like "slaying" and "killing"? Why would they allow the media to continue using those terms? Why wouldn't someone clarify that TS simply "died under suspicious circumstances" or definitively state that no "killing" took place? It would be very irresponsible of those 'in the know' to allow rumors to continue if indeed TS wasn't killed by someone. There's certainly no reason to believe that TS committed suicide or died of natural causes...no reason at all.

TS's mother has stated that LE told her TS had been beaten. Whether TS died during the beating or sometime afterward is a legal technicality. If the beating was related to her death, whenever that death took place, then someone will face criminal charges when the investigation is complete.

That BMS wasn't an emotional 'wreck' at the public services says nothing about whether her mother was murdered. People react differently to these things. I'm sure that had BMS not wanted to attend her mother's funeral, no one would have forced her. I'm also sure that had she become emotionally distressed during the service, no one would have judged her for it. Why are you using an emotional reaction (or lack of one) as the basis for your conclusion that her mother wasn't killed? Go back in this thread to the discussion of the service...several posters gave very personal accounts of their own public reactions to dreadful family circumstances. There's no standard reaction...no definite response...we all react differently and those reactions aren't 'evidence' of anything.

There has to be a huge amount of forensic evidence to sift through, test, and analyze. These things take time. It's likely that JSE didn't act alone so LE needs to be sure of who else was involved. JSE has a pretty serious drug history...perhaps drugs were involved so that memories aren't as clear as we'd like. I just don't understand why, under the circumstances, so many of us 'outsiders' are so anxious for charges to be brought and so distressed that they've not been brought yet. Maybe LE just wants to get it right the first time. Besides, once charges are brought, the defendant is entitled to a speedy trial...let's get the evidence in place, be as sure of the facts as possible, try JSE on the charges that are 'cut and dried' and then bring the other charges so that those involved can be brought to justice without loose ends jeopardizing the 'speedy trial' constraints.

There's a 12 yr old child in the middle of this investigation. It's a multi-faceted investigation. Lawyers are involved. What might help exculpate one person in one facet might inculpate that same person in another facet. I'm content to let the LE, prosecutors, and attorneys work this out in their own time. I'm confident that TS will see justice done. I certainly wish that a child wasn't involved in any way but one is...and that alone might be a big part of the reason things aren't moving more quickly. That child's mental stability has to be a special consideration...and because a child is involved, I'm willing to let that help dictate the speed at which this case moves. In my worst nightmare I can't imagine what this must be like for that child. But I do believe that someone...maybe more than one 'someone'...will eventually be brought to justice for TS's death.
 

Tugela

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2011
Messages
2,717
Reaction score
454
" Even if Brittany willingly accompanied Easley, the law doesn't care. She's 12, not old enough to give legal consent, police and prosecutors have said."

I'm not sure I understand why you believe this is an odd thing for LE and the prosecutors to say. They were simply rebutting Easley's stmt that BMS had gone with him willingly by saying that under the law, there can be no willingness on the part of BMS...she's too young to make that decision/choice. Even assuming that Easley didn't tie her up or force her into the vehicle, she cannot be considered to have gone willingly under the law. After Easley made his stmt, LE and the prosecutors had to clarify that any lack of physical force/coercion by Easley cannot translate to BMS having gone with him "willingly" under the law. In short, the child was abducted.

There is a difference between "willingly" and legal consent. If the mother was allready dead and she was the sole legal guardian then the consent issue is moot.

If the girl had formally stated that she was taken by force, or against her will, in the interviews then there is no reason for the DA to mince words about it if he was going to make a statement. He could simply state that the victim alleged that fact, I dont see why he would need to make a conditional statement unless he didn't know the answer.
 

Tugela

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2011
Messages
2,717
Reaction score
454
I'm again not sure I understand what you're trying to say. Are you saying that perhaps Tina died of natural causes or committed suicide? That JSE and BMS just found her dead, panicked and ran? That this is all an unfortunate set of coincidences and bad choices?

Why, then, would LE and prosecutors continue to use words like "slaying" and "killing"? Why would they allow the media to continue using those terms? Why wouldn't someone clarify that TS simply "died under suspicious circumstances" or definitively state that no "killing" took place? It would be very irresponsible of those 'in the know' to allow rumors to continue if indeed TS wasn't killed by someone. There's certainly no reason to believe that TS committed suicide or died of natural causes...no reason at all.

TS's mother has stated that LE told her TS had been beaten. Whether TS died during the beating or sometime afterward is a legal technicality. If the beating was related to her death, whenever that death took place, then someone will face criminal charges when the investigation is complete.

That BMS wasn't an emotional 'wreck' at the public services says nothing about whether her mother was murdered. People react differently to these things. I'm sure that had BMS not wanted to attend her mother's funeral, no one would have forced her. I'm also sure that had she become emotionally distressed during the service, no one would have judged her for it. Why are you using an emotional reaction (or lack of one) as the basis for your conclusion that her mother wasn't killed? Go back in this thread to the discussion of the service...several posters gave very personal accounts of their own public reactions to dreadful family circumstances. There's no standard reaction...no definite response...we all react differently and those reactions aren't 'evidence' of anything.

There has to be a huge amount of forensic evidence to sift through, test, and analyze. These things take time. It's likely that JSE didn't act alone so LE needs to be sure of who else was involved. JSE has a pretty serious drug history...perhaps drugs were involved so that memories aren't as clear as we'd like. I just don't understand why, under the circumstances, so many of us 'outsiders' are so anxious for charges to be brought and so distressed that they've not been brought yet. Maybe LE just wants to get it right the first time. Besides, once charges are brought, the defendant is entitled to a speedy trial...let's get the evidence in place, be as sure of the facts as possible, try JSE on the charges that are 'cut and dried' and then bring the other charges so that those involved can be brought to justice without loose ends jeopardizing the 'speedy trial' constraints.

There's a 12 yr old child in the middle of this investigation. It's a multi-faceted investigation. Lawyers are involved. What might help exculpate one person in one facet might inculpate that same person in another facet. I'm content to let the LE, prosecutors, and attorneys work this out in their own time. I'm confident that TS will see justice done. I certainly wish that a child wasn't involved in any way but one is...and that alone might be a big part of the reason things aren't moving more quickly. That child's mental stability has to be a special consideration...and because a child is involved, I'm willing to let that help dictate the speed at which this case moves. In my worst nightmare I can't imagine what this must be like for that child. But I do believe that someone...maybe more than one 'someone'...will eventually be brought to justice for TS's death.

In the case of Valerie Hamilton they had issued an arrest warrant for murder before they even knew the cause of death simply because of the circumstances of what happened to the body. It is now known that she died of a drug overdose and the murder trial is still continueing. So, if that is possible in VH's case it surely would be possible in this case as well. Unless they had reason to believe that it was possible it wasn't murder. Remember, they initially were uncertain if it was a homicide, and later appeared to decide it was based mainly on the circumstances around the case. We still don't know what the cause of death was and no charges have been filed to date, meaning that it is not clear. Remember that you can still be charged with murder if a homicide takes place in the course of carrying out a crime. So, if it was clearly a homicide, and if the daughter was clearly abducted, then they would have enough to charge him even if they didnt have all the details or if someone else did the killing. So why no charges yet? There must be doubt about one of those two things otherwise it would have happened by now.

If Easley did kill the mother, and abduct the daughter, then there should be more than enough evidence to arrest him. LE have not really discussed the death part of the investigation at all since Easley was arrested, no cause of death has been released, it just seems odd. As though it is not as simple as people first thought.

And I find it really hard to believe that if the kid had witnessed her mom being killed and was then forceably abducted by the killer across the country, that she would be in anything remotely approaching an emotionally capable state that would allow her to apparently happilly attend public memorials and give short speeches. Or that her guardians would allow her to be exposed to such a situation. Unless of course the case was not as traumatic as people first thought. Which again may explain why LE is taking so long to lay charges.

As far as the alleged beating is concerned, that doesn't necessarily mean that it was related to the cause of death.

Anyway, hopefully we will have answers soon.
 

Gizmorose

New Member
Joined
Dec 8, 2010
Messages
56
Reaction score
0
"Abduction charge against Jeff Easley certified to grand jury"

"Investigators testified that when they found Tina Smith's body on December 6th, her hands were swollen and bound with a red, white and black cord.

"Brittany's father, Ben Smith, testified he did not give Easley permission to take the girl to California. When questioned by defense lawyers Ben Smith said he was not allowed to have contact with Brittany because of a protective order."

http://www.wdbj7.com/news/wdbj7-abd...tified-to-grand-jury-20110208,0,1196263.story
 

FaerieB

Active Member
Joined
Jan 11, 2009
Messages
2,105
Reaction score
4
O/T: Gizmorose: You can edit your original post, to add to it or correct things, as long as it's within an hour of posting. HTH. :)
 

imamaze

Former Member
Joined
Feb 12, 2005
Messages
21,123
Reaction score
224
VA abduction case sent to grand jury
The case against a man accused of abducting his slain girlfriend's 12-year-old daughter is going to a Roanoke County grand jury.
Roanoke County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Judge Philip Trompeter found probable cause Tuesday to certify the abduction charge against Jeffrey Easley to the grand jury. The Roanoke Times reports that the grand jury is scheduled to meet April 1.
More...

Easley's abduction charge advances to grand jury
A grand jury will hear felony abduction charges against Jeffrey Easley after a judge found probable cause to advance the case Tuesday morning.
Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court Judge Philip Trompeter also refused to grant Easley bond, meaning he will remain in jail.
More...
 

hollyblue

It may be the *advertiser censored* that crows, but it is the hen t
Joined
Jan 14, 2010
Messages
9,113
Reaction score
23

What was all this about? Little of a twist in the case. ??

Brittany's father testifies about protective order

Brittany Smith's father, Ben Smith, testified that he had joint custody of his daughter and that he had not given permission for Easley to take his daughter anywhere.

Defense Attorney Tom Roe, however, asked Ben Smith if there had been a protective order issued against him last year prohibiting him from having contact with Brittany. "Yes," he said.

The protective order had been lifted by the time of his daughter's disappearance, he said. "I could have contact with her at that time."

Ben Smith also said he had been placed on administrative leave from his job as a police officer in South Boston for a period before Dec. 3. He did not explain why.
 

tfrohning

Rest in Peace
Joined
Sep 22, 2008
Messages
5,076
Reaction score
18
What was all this about? Little of a twist in the case. ??

Brittany's father testifies about protective order

Brittany Smith's father, Ben Smith, testified that he had joint custody of his daughter and that he had not given permission for Easley to take his daughter anywhere.

Defense Attorney Tom Roe, however, asked Ben Smith if there had been a protective order issued against him last year prohibiting him from having contact with Brittany. "Yes," he said.

The protective order had been lifted by the time of his daughter's disappearance, he said. "I could have contact with her at that time."

Ben Smith also said he had been placed on administrative leave from his job as a police officer in South Boston for a period before Dec. 3. He did not explain why.

WTH:banghead:

Speechless!:banghead:
 
Top