A high school dropout and unemployed fry cook, William Smith was convicted on charges of "menacing" in 1978, at Silverton, Oregon. That same year, a second-degree burglary conviction, in nearby Salem, earned him a one-year suspended sentence.
In 1979, Smith and another man were accused of second-degree sexual assault on an adult female victim; Smith was acquitted of the charge, while his companion went to jail. Authorities in Boise, Idaho, convicted Smith of indecent exposure during 1981, and a year later he was questioned by Ada County sheriff's officers in the unsolved murder of 14-year-old Lisa Chambers. Things were getting hot in Idaho, and Smith returned to Salem, Oregon, where he felt more at home.
On February 19, 1984, Rebecca Darling, 21, disappeared from her job on the graveyard shift at an all-night convenience store. A customer had seen her on the job around 3:20 a.m., but she was missing thirty minutes later, when another early shopper found the store deserted. Darling's decomposed remains were found March 25, concealed in brush along the Little Pudding River, six miles northeast of town. Nude from the waist up, she had been strangled with a piece of rope, hands bound behind her back.
On April 7, 1984, police responded to reports of an abandoned car and traced it back to 18-year-old co-ed Katherine Redmond, who had borrowed the wheels from her roommate after a campus frat party. Last seen alive around 2:15 a.m., Redmond was found on April 11, her nude body discarded four miles from the spot where Rebecca Darling was discovered. Death had been induced by "traumatic asphyxiation," her vagina lacerated with some unknown foreign object. Witnesses reported sightings of a late-1960s Pontiac station wagon in the area where Redmond's car was recovered, around the time she must have met her killer.
Another Salem resident reported being bumped by a similar car, days earlier; the hulking driver had invited her to leave her car and "check the damage," but he soon lost interest when she countered with suggestions that they both drive to a nearby gas station.
By April 18, police were focusing on William Smith as their primary suspect. He owned the right kind of car, and in the early hours of April 7, he had called a tow truck to rescue him from a ditch near the place where Katherine Redmond's car was found. Before detectives had a chance to move against their man, he was incarcerated for 180 days after pleading guilty to a series of obscene and threatening phone calls.
On April 26, 1984, Smith was arraigned on two counts of first-degree murder in Salem. (Police saw no links between Smith and five other unsolved homicides that had plagued Salem since 1981.)
Waiving his right to a jury trial in July, Smith was convicted on all counts by the presiding judge, drawing two consecutive terms of life imprisonment. He must complete a minimum of forty years before he is considered for parole.
Michael Newton - An Encyclopedia
of Modern Serial Killers - Hunting Humans
Plea deal resolves 25-year-old
By Brian Barker and Associated Press
Dec 18, 2007
SALEM, Ore. - A 25-year-old Salem mystery over the
disappearance of a young pizza-delivery woman ended Tuesday with the
plea of a convicted murderer.
William Scott Smith entered a guilty plea in a
hearing surrounded by law enforcement officials and attended by the
family of victim Sherry Eyerly.
She vanished on July 4, 1982, while delivering three
large Domino's pizzas. The 18-year-old's car was found with the engine
running near the address of the order - less than an hour after she left.
The three pizzas were on the ground near her car.
Volunteers searched for days but she never turned up.
To crack the case so many years later, investigators in a
cold case unit re-examined evidence and confronted Smith in prison,
where he confessed.
Detectives said Smith and an accomplice planned to
kidnap Eyerly and hold her for ransom.
"One of the facts that never came out publicly ... is
that the next day after the abduction there was actually a ransom call
that went into Domino's," said Don Abar of the Marion County District
Investigators suspected Smith because he was a serial
He is already serving two life sentences for the sex
slayings of two other young Salem women in separate attacks in 1984.
Both were dumped in Salem near the Pudding River. Smith reportedly told
police he also hid Eyerly's body in the same area.
Authorities said Tuesday that searches of the area
didn't turn up anything - likely because of significant flooding over
the past 25 years. Eyerly's body has never been found.
As part of the plea deal, a third life
sentence will be tacked on to the two Smith is already serving.
24 F.3d 251
William Scott SMITH, Petitioner-Appellant,
Manfred MAASS, Superintendent, Oregon State Penitentiary,
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth
Argued and Submitted Jan. 7, 1994.
Decided April 29, 1994.
Before: POOLE and TROTT, Circuit Judges, and KING,
Scott Smith, an Oregon state prisoner, appeals the district court's
denial of his 28 U.S.C. Sec. 2254 habeas corpus petition. We affirm.
* Smith contends that the trial court should have suppressed his un-Mirandized
confession to his father, mother, and fiancee.
warnings were not required because Smith's conversations with his family
were not "custodial interrogations." See Illinois v. Perkins, 496 U.S.
292, 297 (1990); Alexander v. Connecticut, 917 F.2d 747, 750-51 (2d
Cir.1990), cert. denied, 111 S.Ct. 2831 (1991); cf. United States v.
Eide, 875 F.2d 1429, 1433-34 (9th Cir.1989); Pace, 833 F.2d at 1313 & n.
Smith's relatives did not act as government agents. See United States v.
Snowadzki, 723 F.2d 1427, 1429 (9th Cir.) (private citizen is government
agent if (1) government knows of and acquiesces in the citizen's conduct,
and (2) the citizen intended to assist law enforcement efforts rather
than further his own ends), cert. denied, 469 U.S. 839 (1984). His
mother had no contacts with the police before she visited Smith. The
fiancee did not ask Smith about the murder; Smith volunteered his
confession. The father encouraged Smith to confess, but he acted for
personal reasons, not to assist the police.
contends that the state trial court improperly admitted a confession he
made on April 24 because the police elicited the confession after he
invoked his right to counsel on April 23.
suspect invokes his fifth amendment right to counsel during a custodial
interrogation, the police must cease questioning the suspect and cannot
resume questioning unless the suspect (1) "himself initiates further
communication, exchanges, or conversation with the police" and (2)
knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily waives the right to counsel
that he previously invoked. Smith v. Illinois, 469 U.S. 91, 95 (1984) (per
curiam); Edwards v. Arizona, 451 U.S. 477, 484-86 & n. 9 (1981); Collazo
v. Estelle, 940 F.2d 411, 415 (9th Cir.1991) (en banc), cert. denied,
112 S.Ct. 870 (1992).
23 interrogation lasted about an hour. The police never administered
Miranda warnings. Smith told the police that he didn't want to talk and
stated that "[i]f you are going to charge me, arrest me and then you can
get me an attorney." The police continued to interrogate him, they
talked about his need for professional help, he cried, he asked to
return to his cell several times, an officer slapped the table and asked
him to confess again, he asked again to return to his cell, and the
police returned him to his cell. Smith did not make any incriminating
24, more than 24 hours after the April 23 interrogation, Smith's father
and stepmother visited Smith and asked him if he were guilty and told
him that if he were, he needed psychiatric help. He asked to see his
fiancee and mother, who were scheduled to visit that day. Smith
confessed first to his fiancee and then to his mother. During his
conversation with his mother, his father came into the room and
persuaded him to confess to the police. The father came out of the room
and told the police that Smith wanted to confess if the Vancouver
burglary charges were dropped. The charges were dropped, the police read
Smith his Miranda rights, and Smith waived them and confessed. He
admitted he confessed because his father thought he should.
April 23 statements to the police were an equivocal request for counsel.
See United States v. De La Jara, 973 F.2d 746, 750 (9th Cir.1992);
Grooms v. Keeney, 826 F.2d 883, 886-87 (9th Cir.1987) (equivocal request
when suspect answered "I don't know" in response to the question whether
he wanted to consult an attorney); United States v. Fouche, 776 F.2d
1398, 1405 (9th Cir.1985) (equivocal request when suspect said he "might
want to talk to a lawyer" and requested a phone call).
When a suspect makes an equivocal request for counsel, the police
must cease questioning, except that they may clarify whether the suspect
desires an attorney. Fouche, 776 F.2d at 1404. Interrogation may be
resumed only if clarification reveals that the suspect does not want
counsel. Id. at 1405.
Here, the police violated Smith's rights by continuing to
interrogate him on April 23. Collazo, 940 F.2d at 416-19.
The pertinent inquiry thus is whether Smith's subsequent reiniation of
contact with the police and waiver of his right to counsel were
voluntary. See Greenawalt v. Ricketts, 943 F.2d 1020, 1026-27 (9th
Cir.1991) (a voluntary confession inadmissible on Edwards grounds does
not taint a subsequent, voluntary confession), cert. denied, 113 S.Ct.
252 (1992); Collazo, 940 F.2d at 415-23 (voluntary means the "product of
a free and deliberate choice rather than intimidation, coercion, or
see also Oregon v. Elstad, 470 U.S. 298, 318 (1985); Smith, 469 U.S. at
argues that his decision to initiate contact and subsequent waiver of
his right to counsel were not voluntary because they were coerced by
promises of psychological help, use of his family to elicit an emotional
confession, exploitation of his "borderline mental condition" and
extensive police contact, including the April 23 interrogation, which
was conducted in violation of Miranda.
that under the totality of the circumstances, Smith's initiation of
contact and waiver were voluntary.
promises of psychological help did not render Smith's initiation of
contact and waiver involuntary. The police mentioned psychological help
during the April 23 interrogation more than 24 hours earlier, but this
is not overwhelming coercion. Similarly, his father's concern with
psychological help does not contribute to an air of police coercion. See
Green v. Scully, 850 F.2d 894, 903-04 (2d Cir.), cert. denied, 488 U.S.
945 (1988); Martin v. Wainwright, 770 F.2d 918, 925-28 (11th Cir.1985),
modified, 781 F.2d 185 (11th Cir.), cert. denied, 479 U.S. 909 (1986).
the influence of Smith's family does not contribute to an atmosphere of
coercion. Cf. United States v. Casal, 915 F.2d 1225, 1228-29 (8th
Cir.1990), cert. denied, 499 U.S. 941 (1991). The police did help
arrange family visits, but they only facilitated visits that the
relatives requested. Moreover, Smith's discussions with his relatives
were not akin to custodial interrogations and thus do not raise the
Miranda and Edwards concerns that coercive police tactics raise.
Smith argues that police exploited his borderline mental condition.
Smith was of at least low average intelligence, however, and he
testified that he was familiar with the criminal justice system and
understood his rights. These facts dispel any concern that his waiver
was involuntary. See Derrick v. Peterson, 924 F.2d 813, 816-17, 821 (9th
Cir.1990) (valid waiver by sixteen year-old with I.Q. of 62-74 when
police read him rights three or four times and defendant gave written
waiver), cert. denied, 112 S.Ct. 161 (1991).
Finally, the police's continued interrogation of Smith on April 23
Any "minimally trained police officer should have known" that continued
interrogation was impermissible and was likely to produce an improper
confession. Cf. Collazo, 940 F.2d at 417. Nevertheless, the
interrogation lasted a relatively short time, Smith did not make
incriminating statements, more than 24 hours elapsed between the two
interrogations, there was no police contact with Smith between the two
interrogations, and Smith initiated police contact after striking a deal
that the police drop the Vancouver robbery charge. Cf. id. at 416 (police
told defendant after he requested counsel that if he asked for a lawyer,
he could not talk to police and that it "might be worse" for him). Thus,
any taint from the police's conduct was purged.
question ultimately is whether Smith's initiation of contact with the
police and subsequent Edwards waiver were the product of his free will
rather than police coercion. See id. at 420. Under the totality of the
circumstances, the police's involvement was not so pervasive that
Smith's free will was overborne.
contends that even if his waiver of his Edwards right was voluntary, his
subsequent confession was not voluntary.
inculpatory statement is voluntary only if it is the product of a
rational intellect and a free will." United States v. Leon Guerrero, 847
F.2d 1363, 1365 (9th Cir.1988) (citing Blackburn v. Alabama, 361 U.S.
199, 208 (1960)). The test is whether, considering the totality of the
circumstances, the government obtained the statement by physical or
psychological coercion or by improper inducement such that the suspect's
will was overborne. Id. (citing Haynes v. Washington, 373 U.S. 503,
513-14 (1963)); see Colorado v. Connelly, 479 U.S. 157, 170 (1986) (police
coercion must be causally related to confession).
of his claim that his confession was involuntary, Smith proffers the
same facts that he used to support his Edwards claim. He also argues
that involuntariness is shown by continued offers of psychological help
during the interrogation. The additional promises of psychological help
do not establish coercion such that, under the totality of the
circumstances, Smith's will was overborne.
Honorable Samuel P. King, Senior United States
District Judge for the District of Hawaii, sitting by designation
This disposition is not appropriate for publication
and may not be cited to or by the courts of this circuit except as
provided by 9th Cir.R. 36-3
Smith also raises a sixth amendment challenge to his
confession, but his sixth amendment right to counsel had not attached.
See United States v. Pace, 833 F.2d 1307, 1310-12 (9th Cir.1987), cert.
denied, 486 U.S. 1011 (1988)
The Supreme Court has granted certiorari in an
equivocal counsel case and presumably will decide what procedure is
constitutionally required. See United States v. Davis, 36 M.J. 337 (C.M.A.),
cert. granted, 114 S.Ct. 379 (1993)
The state argues that habeas relief is not
appropriate because the procedure that this court requires for equivocal
requests was not announced until Fouche, which was decided after Smith's
conviction became final. Moreover, the state argues, Smith met with his
attorney after the April 23 interrogation, and until the Supreme Court
decided Minnick v. Mississippi, 498 U.S. 146 (1990), it was arguable
whether this meeting lifted the Edwards bar to further interrogation.
The state concludes that Fouche and Minnick are "new rules" that should
not be applied retroactively to invalidate Smith's conviction. The state
did not raise this defense below, however, and we conclude that the
interests of comity and justice are not served by considering it for the
first time on appeal. See Collins v. Youngblood, 497 U.S. 37, 40-41
(1990); Boardman v. Estelle, 957 F.2d 1523, 1534-37 (9th Cir.), cert.
denied, 113 S.Ct. 297 (1992).
The state concedes that the officers should have
advised Smith of his Miranda rights before interrogating him
Smith does not argue that he did not understand the
nature of the right he waived at the April 24 interrogation. See
Collazo, 940 F.2d at 415 (discussing "awareness" prong of inquiry)
Other police contact with Smith, which was part of an
investigation of the prime suspect in a murder case, was not
extraordinary and does not suggest an unduly coercive atmosphere.
RACE: W TYPE: N MOTIVE: Sex.
MO: Lust killer of females age
DISPOSITION: Life term with
40-year minimum on two counts in Ore., 1984.
1984 photo of
William Scott Smith, left, with Attorney Richard Stein.
Sherry Eyerly is pictured in this file photo. She
disappeared while delivering pizza in the Salem area in 1982.