was convicted of murder and sentenced to death in Allen County in
1983. In 1989, the Indiana Supreme Court reversed his conviction and
sentence due to ineffective assistance of trial and appellate counsel.
On retrial, Smith, who had come within three days of being executed,
was acquitted on all counts.
CHARLES # 23
OFF DEATH ROW SINCE 12-13-89
DOC#: 10440 Black Male
Allen County Superior Court
Judge Alfred W. Moellering
Prosecutor: Gregory L. Fumarolo, James P.
Defense: Theodore D. Wilson
Date of Murder: December 10, 1982
Victim(s): Carmine Zink W/F/20 (No
relationship to Smith)
Method of Murder: shooting with .32
Summary: Smith left in a car one
night accompanied by Phillip Lee and Briddie Johnson. They stopped
to let Smith pick up a .32 handgun and agreed to stake out a local
restaurant for likely robbery victims.
They went to The Elegant Farmer in Ft. Wayne,
parked the car in the lot, and waited. Brenda Chandler and Carmine
Zink arrived to attend a Christmas party at the restaurant.
Smith and Johnson left the car and with stockings
over their heads confronted Chandler and Zink, intent on taking
their purses. Smith seized Zink, put her in a headlock, and put the
.32 handgun to her head. Johnson was struggling with Chandler, who
heard a single gunshot. Smith and Johnson fled. Zink lay on the
ground dead as a result of a single gunshot to the head.
Lee testified at trial under an agreement with
the State and confirmed the above scenario.
Conviction: Murder, Felony-Murder,
Habitual Offender (trifurcated trial)
Sentencing: October 18, 1983 (Death
Aggravating Circumstances: b (1) Robbery
Mitigating Circumstances: None
On remand, the State
withdrew its Application for Death Sentence, and
added a count of Robbery (Class A Felony). A
jury was selected in Marion County for retrial
in Allen County. After 8 days of trial and 9
hours of deliberations, the jury found Charles
Smith NOT GUILTY of all charges (Murder, Felony-Murder,
Robbery). Allen County Superior Court, Judge
John F. Surbeck, Jr..