Joseph Smith was sentenced to death by the State of Alabama for a murder that took place during a robbery. According to court documents Joseph Smith would rob the man then proceeded to beat the man to death. Joseph Smith would be arrested, convicted and sentenced to death
Joseph Smith 2022 Information
|Inmate:||SMITH, JOSEPH CLIFTON|
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On November 25, 1997, police discovered the badly beaten body of Durk Van Dam in his mud-bound Ford Ranger truck in a wooded area near Shipyard Road in Mobile County. Dr. Julia Goodin, a forensic pathologist for the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences, testified that Van Dam died as a result of 35 different blunt-force injuries to his body. Van Dam had marks consistent with marks made by a saw on his neck, shoulder, and back; he also had a large hemorrhage beneath his scalp, brain swelling, multiple rib fractures, a collapsed lung, multiple abrasions to his head and knees, and defensive wounds on his hands. Dr. Goodin testified that the multiple rib fractures that caused one lung to collapse were probably the most immediate cause of death.
Smith gave two statements to the police. In the first statement he denied any involvement in the robbery-murder but said that he was with Larry Reid when Reid beat and robbed Van Dam. Smith denied taking anything from the victim. When police were questioning Reid, Smith repeatedly knocked on the interrogation room door and requested to talk to the officer who had taken his first statement. In his second statement Smith admitted that he and Reid had planned to rob Van Dam because they had been told that Van Dam was carrying $1,500 in cash. Smith said that he, Reid, and Van Dam left the Highway Host motel in Van Dam’s red truck on November 23, 1997. Van Dam was driving. Reid directed Van Dam, who had been drinking, to an isolated location. Once there, Reid began hitting Van Dam. He said that when Reid kicked Van Dam in the face he thought Van Dam was dead. Smith said that Van Dam then got up and Smith hit him on the head with his fist, kicked him in the ribs several times, threw a handsaw at him, and may have hit him with a hammer but he wasn’t entirely sure because he suffers from blackouts. Reid then got a power saw from the back of Van Dam’s truck, Smith said, and ran the saw against Van Dam’s neck. Smith held Van Dam down while Reid took the money from his pockets. Smith and Reid then attempted to move the truck, because they had planned to steal it, but it got stuck in the mud. Smith also admitted that he took the victim’s boots, because his shoes were wet, and that he took the victim’s tools. The two discussed where to take Van Dam’s body and Smith suggested that they take it to a nearby lake. However, they left the body, Smith said, under a mattress near Van Dam’s truck. Smith said that when they divided the money he got only $40 and Reid kept the rest, approximately $100. Smith also told police that he had just been released from custody on Friday-two days before the robbery-murder on Sunday.1
Russell Harmon testified that on November 23, 1997, he went to the Highway Host motel and saw Reid and Smith. He said that Smith told him that they were going to rob Van Dam and asked if he wanted to join them. Harmon declined and left the motel. Later that day he went back to the motel to see if the two had been successful with their plans. He said that Smith told him that he had beaten the victim on the head and that he had cut him with a saw. On cross-examination he admitted that he could not swear that Smith was the one who said he had cut Van Dam in the back but that it could have been Reid who made this statement. However, on cross-examination Harmon reiterated that Smith told him that he “hit the man, beat the man-hit the man in the head and cut him.” (R. 340.) Harmon testified that Smith asked him to go with him to get the tools from where he had left them in the woods. He said that he went with Smith and that they got the tools and took them to a pawnshop-Smith received $200 for the tools. Harmon testified that he was currently in the county jail because his probation had been revoked.
M.A.2 testified that she was living at Highway Host motel with her mother and sister at the time of Van Dam’s murder. She said that her sister, M., was dating Smith. M.A. testified that on November 23, 1997, she saw Smith, Reid, and Van Dam drive away from the motel in a red truck. She said that when Smith and Reid returned sometime later they were in a black car, Van Dam was not with them, and Smith had blood on his clothes. M.A. testified that Smith told her that he had hit, cut, and stabbed Van Dam in the back.
Patty Milbeck testified that she saw Smith, Reid, and Van Dam on the day of the robbery-murder. When they returned, she said, Van Dam was not with them and Smith appeared nervous. Smith told her that Van Dam had become angry and left. Milbeck stated that at the time of her trial testimony she was in jail because she failed to report to her probation officer.
Joey Warner, an employee of 24-Hour Pawn pawnshop, testified that on November 23, 1997, Smith pawned several tools including saws, drills, and a router. He was given $200 and he showed his Alabama Department of Corrections identification card as identification to pawn the tools. (Supp. R. 92.)
Why Is Joseph Smith On Death Row
Joseph Smith was sentenced to death for the murder of a store clerk
When Is Joseph Smith Execution
Joseph Smith execution has yet to be scheduled