Joseph Smith was sentenced to death by the State of Florida for the murder of eleven year old Carlie Brucia. According to court documents Joseph Smith would abduct, sexually assault and murder Carlie Brucia. Joseph Smith is also a suspect in the murder of Tara Reilly. Joseph Smith would be arrested, convicted and sentenced to death
Joseph Smith 2021 Information
|Name:||SMITH, JOSEPH P|
|Initial Receipt Date:||03/20/2006|
|Current Facility:||UNION C.I.|
|Current Release Date:||PENDING|
Joseph Smith More News
Joseph Smith, one of Florida’s most notorious killers, is a suspect in a cold case murder that has haunted the Bradenton Police Department for two decades.
Prompted by a Herald-Tribune investigation published in Sunday’s print edition that examined the murder of 25-year-old Tara Reilly in 2000, Bradenton Police Department Assistant Chief Paul McWade confirmed Smith is a suspect in the unsolved case and he intends to have detectives attempt to speak with him as he sits on death row.
“I’m glad that story put a kick in the authorities’ butts to do something about Tara,” said John Smith, who told the Herald-Tribune he thinks his brother killed Reilly. “She was a sweet girl. She had a long life ahead of her. Way too early to depart this earth.
“I hope they solve this before my brother dies.”
Joseph Smith is currently at the Florida State Prison in Raiford for the 2004 abduction, rape and murder of 11-year-old Carlie Brucia in Sarasota. The case received worldwide attention at the time, as Brucia’s chilling abduction was captured by a video camera behind a car wash on Bee Ridge Road. It happened while much of the nation was watching Super Bowl XXXVIII on television.
Four years prior to Brucia’s murder, on March 28, 2000, Reilly was found lying dead and naked in a pond behind Walmart on Cortez Road in Bradenton. Involved in a custody battle with an ex-boyfriend at the time, she had been lured to the parking lot by a phone call from someone who claimed to have information of value to her. Reilly’s body was found by three men on an all-terrain vehicle and authorities said at the time a weapon was used, although one was never found.
Tips flowed in during the days that followed. According to a 2002 Herald-Tribune story, a person matching a description of someone Reilly was seen arguing with in the Walmart parking lot was questioned by police but there was not enough evidence for the state attorney’s office to file charges.
In 2002, former Bradenton Police Chief Al Hogle passed the case to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office cold case squad, which consisted of 13 deputies from different units, for “fresh eyes” but it was later returned to the BPD.
“This is probably the biggest cold case homicide Bradenton has ever had,” McWade said.
Kathleen Reilly, Tara’s 76-year-old mother who is battling health issues, told the Herald-Tribune recently that no one has contacted the family over the last 20 years concerning the death of her daughter. McWade, however, disputes that statement and said detectives have been in steady contact, in particular with Reilly’s father Raymond, who has since passed away. The unsolved murder, McWade said, has never been off the department’s radar.
“This was the case that has haunted one of our detectives for his whole career,” he said.
Joseph Smith is not the only suspect in the case, McWade said, but there are two theories linking the convicted killer of Carlie Brucia to Reilly’s murder, and both were explored in-depth in Sunday’s Herald-Tribune report.
One theory centers around a New Year’s trip to Disney, just months before the murder. Reilly joined John Smith, Joseph DeGregorio, Robert Shullich and two other women on the trip to Orlando. DeGregorio and John Smith owned a chain of highly successful labs called Acculab, where Reilly was employed for a brief amount of time.
Kathleen Reilly and John Smith told the Herald-Tribune that Reilly was raped during the trip. Smith originally confirmed the information to a Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office detective and to a federal agent during a recorded jailhouse interview in 2006. Smith said Shullich told him he was the one who raped Reilly
Shullich, now deceased, was DeGregorio’s best friend from New York. John Smith was asked in the 2006 interview if he thought it was possible that DeGregorio paid Joseph Smith to kill Reilly to quiet her about the alleged rape. John Smith said at the time he thought it was possible, adding that his brother once burned down a house in Lutz owned by DeGregorio and Shullich for the insurance money.
DeGregorio is serving two life sentences in prison for molesting underage boys. He was also charged for his part in a scheme that allowed Acculab to defraud Medicare for at least $17 million.
“I’ve always thought it was the people from the lab,” Kathleen Reilly told the Herald-Tribune. “It was a mother’s intuition.”
John Smith recently told the Herald-Tribune about another theory. He said that just prior to Reilly’s murder she turned Joseph Smith down for sex, and he believes the humiliation drove his brother to kill her.
“In my mind I know he did it,” John Smith told the Herald-Tribune. “No one can convince me otherwise. I’d bet my life on it.”