Murder in our family…the death penalty…

Posted on November 6, 2009 by Sara Hickman. | Comments Off on Murder in our family…the death penalty…

My husband’s cousin, Christie, was murdered by her husband via an accomplice, and the article is below.
All three were serving in the military.
This took place last year, but I felt I needed to share the events and the unfolding.
It is all incredibly tragic, and we are all very shocked, still, and forever heartbroken over
the loss of such a beautiful, talented young woman. I didn’t know Christie, but
Lance, his sister, aunt, mom and his entire family are going to be haunted by this forever.
Please keep them in your prayers.

As you know, I am against the death penalty, so this is particularly rough for me internally,
but I still believe that Christie’s husband and accomplice should live their lives behind bars
and let God be their judge when their time to pass on arrives.


Published: 06:47 AM, Thu Nov 05, 2009
DA seeks death penalty in slaying of Fort Bragg soldier
By Drew Brooks
Staff writer

Prosecutors will seek the death penalty against the husband and co-worker of a Fort Bragg soldier who was murdered last year.

Assistant District Attorney Cal Colyer said Sgt. Richard Smith lured his wife, 29-year-old Sgt. Christina Smith,
into a trap set by him and Pfc. Matthew Kvapil.

Richard Smith and his wife were walking near their home at 751 Ashfield Drive on Sept. 30, 2008,
when Kvapil ambushed Christina Smith, stabbing her around the head and neck while Richard Smith stood and watched, Colyer said.

An autopsy showed Christina Smith spent her final moments fighting for her life. She was stabbed
twice in the back, once in the neck and once in the left arm. There were a number of smaller wounds on her body,
including her hands and face, according to the report.

The killing had been planned by Richard Smith and Kvapil, who was a co-worker of Christina Smith’s,
Colyer said. Kvapil had been offered $30,000 in return for helping in the murder, prosecutors say.

Richard Smith, 27, is charged with first-degree murder, three counts of solicitation to commit murder
and conspiracy to commit murder. Colyer said one of the solicitation charges will be dropped because of a jurisdictional issue.
Kvapil, 19, is charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder.

At the time of the killing, Richard Smith was assigned to the 4th Psychological Operations Group as
an electronics maintenance technician, according to a spokesman for the U.S. Army Special Operations Command.
Kvapil worked with Christina Smith as a multimedia graphic illustrator for the group.

The parents, co-workers and friends of Christina Smith attended Wednesday’s hearing. It was the first
of two hearings scheduled this week for Richard Smith.

On Friday, Smith’s case will be one of several capital cases that will be discussed in relation to the
recently adopted Racial Justice Act. Richard Smith’s lawyer, Michael Ramos, said the purpose of the hearing
was to preserve a possible claim to negate the death penalty through the act. Such claims have to be filed
when the decision to seek the death penalty is levied, Ramos said.

He said Friday’s hearings will help decide how the court handles the issue in the future.

“No one knows what to do because it’s so new,” Ramos said.

Christina Smith’s murder was the third involving female soldiers from Fort Bragg in the summer of 2008.
The killings attracted national attention. In each case, a man who was romantically linked to the victim is charged with murder.

Prosecutors were scheduled today to announce whether they would seek the death penalty in one of those
cases, the murder of Spc. Megan Touma. The hearing was delayed after the defendant’s lawyer was not notified.
Edgar Patino is accused of killing 23-year-old Touma, whose body was found at the Fairfield Inn near Cross Creek Mall on June 21, 2008.
Patino was a Fort Bragg sergeant at the time, and investigators said he was the father of Touma’s unborn child.

Prosecutors announced in September they would seek the death penalty in the third case, the murder of 2nd Lt. Holley Wimunc on July 10, 2008.

Wimunc was a 24-year-old nurse at Womack Army Medical Center who was reported missing after investigators found a smoldering
fire in her Fayetteville apartment. Her charred remains were discovered three days later in Sneads Ferry, near Camp Lejeune,
after emergency personnel responded to a brush fire.

Her estranged husband, then-Marine Cpl. John Wimunc of Camp Lejeune, was charged with first-degree murder,
second-degree arson and conspiracy to commit second-degree arson. A second former Marine, Lance Cpl. Kyle Alden,
was charged with aiding John Wimunc by destroying evidence and providing a false alibi.

The two men were separated from the Marine Corps two weeks after Holley Wimunc’s killing, according to Camp Lejeune.

Staff writer Drew Brooks can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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