Death Row Inmates

Grady Brinkley Ohio Death Row

Grady Brinkley

Grady Brinkley was sentenced to death by the State of Ohio for the murder of an ex girlfriend. According to court documents Grady Brinkley would murder Shantae Smith before robbing her home and fleeing to Chicago. Grady Brinkley would be arrested, convicted and sentenced to death

Ohio Death Row Inmate List

Grady Brinkley 2021 Information

Number A436028


Gender Male Race Black

Admission Date 10/03/2002

Institution Chillicothe Correctional Institution


Grady Brinkley More News

On November 6, 1999, Grady Brinkley did not report for his scheduled shift at Rick’s City Diner in Toledo, Ohio. Instead, Brinkley persuaded a co-worker, Olivia Hunter, to drive him to the diner about an hour before it closed that afternoon. Then he loitered around for a while. At closing, hostess Marissa Brown put the day’s proceeds—$2,211—and a bank-deposit slip into a paper bag, which she put in her purse. Brinkley followed Brown to her car, pointed a silver pistol in her face, and demanded the money. Brown thought he was joking and slapped the gun away. Brinkley punched her in the mouth and cocked the pistol. Brown gave him the money. Brinkley and Hunter then drove off; Brown went back into the diner, her mouth full of blood, and told the cook, “Snoop [i.e., Brinkley] robbed us.” The Toledo Police tracked Brinkley without much difficulty and arrested him and Hunter that afternoon.

Brinkley sat in jail for the next several weeks, where he met another inmate, Samuel Miller. Soon Brinkley bragged to Miller about the robbery, saying that “the gun was real.” Brinkley, who was then 32, also said he would manipulate his 18 year-old girlfriend, Shantae Smith, to post bond for him, even though (according to Brinkley) she was then “sleeping with” another man. Brinkley added that he would skip town rather than face the robbery charge, that he “was going back home, to Chicago,” and that “I’m going to kill that bitch [Smith] before I leave town.”

Meanwhile Smith’s life changed for the better while Brinkley was in jail. She got a new job, a new apartment, and met new co-workers and friends. She also (as Brinkley surmised) had a new boyfriend, with whom she worked at her new job.

Brinkley’s bond was set at $20,000. On December 17, 1999, Smith withdrew $2,000 from her bank account, paid it to a bail-bond company (as their fee), and co-signed a $20,000 bail bond to spring Brinkley from jail. He walked out of jail that afternoon.

Brinkley stayed at Smith’s apartment for the next three weeks. On January 6, 2000, Brinkley failed to show at his pretrial hearing. The following morning, after Smith returned home from work, Brinkley strangled her, slit her throat, and then stole her ATM card and winter coat as she bled to death on her apartment floor. Around the same time, Brinkley used Smith’s phone to call the local Greyhound Bus terminal, where he soon headed to catch a 6:50 p.m. ride to Chicago. Before getting on the bus, however, Brinkley tried 16 times to use Smith’s ATM card. Each time he failed—he did not know her PIN—and video from a camera at one of the ATM machines showed Brinkley wearing Smith’s coat (which was much too small for him; Brinkley is 6’4”) as he tried to withdraw cash with her card.

At 7 p.m. the following day—after Brinkley had reunited with his own mother in Chicago—Shantae Smith’s mother, Theresa, went to Smith’s apartment to drop off some laundry. Theresa knocked on the door but no one answered. Theresa pushed open the door as far as its chain would allow and saw blood inside. She kicked open the door and saw a pool of blood next to a pile of blood-soaked sheets and blankets in the kitchen. She pulled back one of the blankets, and saw the body of her daughter. Theresa called the police, who found in the apartment bloody footprints that matched Brinkley’s size-15 Nike shoes. They also found a bogus note, written in Brinkley’s handwriting (the note bears his thumbprint) but purportedly signed by Smith, which said, “Will be gone to Atlanta for 7 days to see my friend, could you please not fix my sink until I get back.”

A brief manhunt followed—as before, Brinkley was easy to find—until, on January 13, an FBI fugitive task force arrested Brinkley at his mother’s residence in Chicago. Brinkley wore Smith’s winter coat and the same pair of size-15 Nike shoes as he walked to the FBI car.

A grand jury charged Brinkley with robbery, aggravated robbery, and aggravated murder. The indictment also alleged two statutory aggravating circumstances—also known as “death-penalty specifications”—either of which would make Brinkley eligible for the death penalty: first, that he murdered Smith “for the purpose of escaping detection, apprehension, trial, or punishment” for another crime; and second, that he murdered Smith while committing or attempting to commit aggravated robbery. Ohio Rev. Code §§ 2929.04(A)(3), (A)(7).

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