Mark Allen Smith is the
first known serial killer to strike in Des Plaines.
He is not as well known as John Wayne Gacy, whose
crimes on the Northwest Side of Chicago involving boys -- including a
Des Plaines teenager -- made headlines in 1978.
But Smith, who also grew up on Chicago's Northwest
Side, brutally murdered at least seven women, said Des Plaines Police
Cmdr. Richard Rozkuszka. One of Smith's victims was Janice Bolyard, a
chemist at the De Soto Chemical Plant, 1700 S. Mount Prospect Road, Des
For that reason Rozkuszka and Des Plaines Detective
Rafael Tovar appeared June 18 before the Illinois Prison Review Board at
the Cook County Criminal Court Building in Chicago to tell why Smith,
now 52 and eligible for parole from Pontiac Correctional Center, should
never be released.
Smith killed at least three women in Germany while
serving in the U.S. Army. He then killed Obie Faye Ash, of Cotter, Ark.,
on Dec. 3, 1969, in Mountain Home, Ark.; Jean Irene Bianchi, of McHenry,
on Jan. 27, 1970, in McHenry County; and Bolyard, a 23-year-old Evanston
resident, on Feb. 27, 1970, in Des Plaines. For these slayings he was
sentenced to 500 years in prison, Rozkuszka said.
Nothing was unusual about Smith's birth June 27,
1949, at Illinois Masonic Hospital in Chicago, according to "Legally
Sane," a book written in 1972 by Harold C. McKenney and Jon K. Hahn.
His mother, Sally Jean Chester, 19, and father,
Dennis Smith, a 21-year-old U.S. Marines sergeant, lived near Logan
Square in Chicago, but divorced after months. When Sally remarried, the
new family moved to the basement of her in-laws' Foster Avenue three-flat
on the Far Northwest Side of Chicago.
Mark Smith was only 8 and in third grade at Edgebrook
Public School when he tried to strangle a female classmate behind the
building, according to the book. And when he was 9 he stabbed a 6-year-old
playmate more than 20 times with a pen knife. The boy survived, and
though Smith was sent to a psychiatrist, his actions were only a prelude
of what was to come.
Owens argues to keep serial killer
State’s Attorney’s Office Criminal Division Chief
Nicole Owens used gritty details from two local murders to argue why
killer and rapist Mark Smith should stay behind bars.
She spoke of the sand and grass found inside the
throat of Jean Bianchi, a 27-year-old mother of two who never came home
from a McHenry laundromat. She had been stabbed 17 times, her teeth were
knocked out, and her face was distorted from a beating.
Then Owens told the 15-member parole board of 17-year-old
Jean Ann Lingenfelter, who disappeared after studying for her senior
finals at a friend’s house. The McHenry West High School student had
been strangled with her own bra by the man who had taken her friend to
prom a few weeks earlier.
“These horrific facts are difficult to hear,” Owens
said, according to a transcript. “However, it is necessary that none of
us forget how dangerous this confessed serial killer truly is.”
Her comments came Wednesday at the first part of
Smith’s 11th parole hearing.
Smith, now 58, began serving a 500-year prison
sentence for three murders in 1970. He has confessed to nine other
Now, murderers are sentenced to 20 to 60 years
without the potential for early release; life; or the death penalty. But
when Smith was convicted, a federal moratorium on the death penalty
existed, and sentencing law allowed parole hearings every three years
for those eligible.
Smith first was eligible for parole in 1980, about
three years after he was convicted of attempting to escape and sentenced
to another 18 years.
McHenry County State’s Attorney Louis Bianchi, who is
not related to Jean Bianchi, said Thursday that he was confident that
Smith’s latest parole request would be denied.
The Illinois Prisoner Review Board hearing in Chicago
was the first in a three-step process. Smith will present his arguments
next month at a hearing at the Pontiac Correctional Center, and the
board will announce its decision in August after a final presentation in
Owens bolstered her comments with 21 pages of letters
from victims’ families, 50 pages of petitions and letters from citizens,
and a dozen pages of crime-scene photographs. She also offered a copy of
“Legally Sane,” a book that details Smith’s killing spree.
The crime-scene photographs were as gruesome as
verbal descriptions of the crimes, Owens said.
“Our position is: If they can’t look at those photos,
they shouldn’t even consider releasing this man into society,” she said.
killer denied parole again
August 06, 2005
SPRINGFIELD – Betty Portenlanger and the Lingenfelter
family will breathe easier for the next three years.
Convicted serial killer Mark Smith's 10th bid for
freedom was denied Thursday by the Illinois Prisoner Review Board.
In 1970, Smith, now 56, was sentenced to 500 years in
prison for murdering Jean Bianchi and Jean Ann Lingenfelter in McHenry.
Smith also was convicted of murdering a woman in Des Plaines and a woman
in Arkansas, and is believed to be responsible for eight murders in
Portenlanger, Bianchi's sister who lives in Chicago,
said she was glad to hear that the Prisoner Review Board again denied
parole to Smith.
"That's good news," she said. "I always expect this
will be the answer, but it's nice to know formally that it is."
Smith will be eligible for parole again in July 2008,
according to review-board documents. Because of a law in place when
Smith was sentenced, he is eligible for parole every three years.
Since 1983, Portenlanger has started a letter-writing
campaign each time that Smith comes up for parole.
Portenlanger asks hundreds of people to write letters
urging the board to deny parole, and said she and her mother were
grateful for the assistance. The prisoner review board apparently
received several thousand letters opposing Smith's parole this year,
On July 6, Portenlanger attended Smith's parole
hearing at Pontiac Correctional Center, along with Mark Facchini,
McHenry County assistant state's attorney, who delivered a statement
asking the board to keep Smith in jail.
"We are so appreciative of the help that the McHenry
County State's Attorney's office gives us and also very appreciative of
the compassion and expertise that Mark Facchini brought to this,"
Smith did appear before the review board to plead his
case for the first time in nine years, but he and Portenlanger were
never in the same room.
Jean Ann Lingenfelter's niece Shannon Fazekas, 33, of
McHenry, said she was the only family member still living in the area.
Her grandfather, Jean Ann's father, lives in Florida
and was prevented from coming to the parole hearing this year because of
his age. Fazekas' uncle, Tom Lingenfelter, lives in California.
Though she never met her aunt, Fazekas heard a lot
about her growing up.
"People used to say, 'Oh, you look just like her,'"
Fazekas said. "That's really spooky."
Fazekas said Thursday she was glad to hear that Smith
wasn't getting out of prison.
"I'm glad he was denied," Fazekas said. "Everyone
says there is no chance of him getting out, but it's still in the back
of the families' minds."
Statement Opposing Serial Killer Mark Smith's Parole
Saturday, June 28, 2008
I'm a bit late on publishing this statement, but
since has appeared no where else and since Nichole Owens did such a
splendid job arguing why mass murder Mark Smith should not be let out on
the street, I'm putting it up anyway.
I remember Mark Smith as the laundromat murderer.
But he was much more.
McHenry County State's Attorney Chief of the Criminal
Division Nichole Owens refreshes our and the Illinois Parole Board's
members' minds in her statement below. I have added some paragraphing to
make it easier to read.
INMATE MARK SMITH
PAROLE HEARING ARGUMENT
PRESENTED BY NICHOLE D. OWENS,
McHENRY COUNTY STATE’S ATTORNEY’S OFFICE
JUNE 18, 2008
On January 27, 1970, at approximately 9:30 pm, Jean
Bianchi, a young wife and mother of two small children, drove to a
laundry mat in the town of McHenry.
She called her husband about an hour later to tell
him that the family laundry was almost done and that she would be home
Jean never returned home again.
She never saw her husband again.
She never saw her children again.
Her vehicle was found near the laundry mat by the
Her laundry was found at the laundry mat with a half-written
letter to a friend nearby.
For three days, Jean’s family frantically searched
On January 30th, their worst nightmare came true.
Her body was found partially clothed, floating under
an icy ledge in a small creek not from the laundry mat where she was
Jean’s face was unrecognizable.
Her teeth were knocked out, her face badly distorted
from the vicious beating she endured.
An autopsy revealed that Jean had been stabbed 17
times in the neck, back, and chest. Her liver was lacerated.
Her vagina was traumatically lacerated.
Sand and grass were discovered in her throat.
Inmate Smith admitted that he abducted Jean Bianchi
at the laundry mat at knife point.
He confessed to forcing her into his car.
He described how he raped her in the back seat,
attempted to strangle her, beat her, threw her from a bridge, attempted
to drown her in the shallow icy creek, and ultimately stabbed her to
And then, as Jean Bianchi lay dead or dieing, Inmate
Smith still wasn’t finished with her.
He then sexually assaulted her with his fist.
Jean Bianchi’s family missed her right away.
The desperate search for her began that very night.
And as she lay alone in her watery grave while her
family frantically searched, Inmate Smith went home, cleaned off his
knife, and went to sleep in his bed, without a second thought.
Jean Bianchi’s family still suffers to this very day,
thirty-eight long years later.
This is her sister, Betty Portlander’s 11th
appearance before this parole board protesting Inmate Smith’s release
Exactly four months after murdering Jean Bianchi, on
May 27, 1970, Inmate Smith viciously raped and murdered a seventeen-year-old
high school senior named Jean Ann Lingenfelter.
Jean Ann was about to graduate from high school. She
had her entire future ahead of her.
On the evening of the murder, Jean Ann’s parents
became worried when she didn’t return home from studying for finals at a
Like Jean, the search for Jean Ann began that night.
Inmate Smith feigned concern for Jean Ann and
assisted law enforcement with their search for her.
Inmate Smith found Jean Ann’s body floating near the
shore of a small lake. He knew where to find her because that is where
he discarded her corpse.
Jean Ann had been viciously beaten and strangled with
her own bra.
Her nose and jaw were broken. Her liver was lacerated.
Her vagina was violently torn with the neck of a beer bottle.
Inmate Smith readily admitted these disturbing facts
without compassion for Jean Ann or remorse for his actions.
Actions which have affected the lives of so many…today
Jean Ann’s niece, a young lady who never knew her, appears today,
speaking on her behalf
These horrific facts are difficult to hear; however,
it is necessary that none of us forget how dangerous this confessed
serial killer truly is and it is important that we realize that this
cold-blooded killer is completely and utterly incapable of
He is devoid of remorse or compassion, callously
stating to a former State’s Attorney, that “everyone has to die sometime.”
It is particularly difficult for the family members
of these two lovely women, every three years, to revisit the horror and
grief that Inmate Smith reaped upon them.
He has outlived many of those who cared for and loved
his innocent victims.
But as difficult as it is for them, they are here,
once again, protesting his release and heart-felt letters by family
members who have passed remain, attached to our petition, for your
As Jean Bianchi’s deceased mother pointed out in one
of her letters,
“I speak from experience when I say
a family of the victim is NEVER the same after such a death of a loved
one. Emotional, mental suffering still continues for each one of us.
"The sentence of grief for the
families of the murder victim is a life sentence.
"It cannot be commuted and parole is
Jean Bianchi and Jean Ann Lingenfelter were but two
of at least twelve victims Inmate Smith admitted to raping and murdering.
His victims were not human beings to him.
Abducting them, raping them, murdering them, that was
sport to Inmate Smith.
We have attached a copy of the book
"Legally Sane" to our petition
for your consideration. On page 63, Smith states,
“It was sort of like the so-called ecstasy of the
hunt must be for animals, only I’m just a little bit above the hunt in
Dr. Joseph Wepman, a psychologist who examined Inmate
Smith years ago stated,
“Mark Alan Smith is always adapting, changing his
story or his coloration to suit the circumstances. He will, no doubt,
come up for parole within our lifetime, and he will look and sound like
a repentant and rehabilitated sinner.
"That would be like giving a driver’s license to
somebody who is blind and I don’t want to be on the road when he’s
driving the car.
"Don’t let him out. He should remain in Stateville
for the rest of his life.”
The McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office
vehemently opposes the release of Mark Smith from the Illinois
Department of Corrections.
In support of our petition, an addendum is attached
containing 18 pages of protests to the inmate’s release from the
families of his victim; 50 pages of letters and petitions from citizens
opposing parole; 12 pages of crime scene photos of the Bianchi and
Lingenfelter murders; 25 pages of autopsy reports of Jean Bianchi and
Jean Ann Lingenfelter; and a copy of the book "Legally Sane."
The inmate has been sentenced consecutively to a
total of 500 years in the Department of Corrections for his horrific
crimes against three innocent, unsuspecting, and defenseless women.
The inmate agreed to this sentence.
He has yet to serve even 10% of it.
Allowing the release of this inmate would deprecate
the seriousness of his offenses, endanger the community, and serve as an
outrageous injustice to the families of the victims who continue to
suffer, thirty-eight years after the deaths of their loved ones.
RACE: W TYPE: N
MO: Rape-slayer of young women
on three continents.
500 years for three counts in
Mark Alan Smith