Ronald Allen Smith was sentenced to death by the State of Montana for a double murder. According to court documents Ronald Allen Smith and an accomplice would murder two Native American men after they were picked up hitchhiking. Ronald Allen Smith who was born in Canada would ask for the death penalty after pleading guilty to the double murder.
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Nelson Smith will never know if the 60-year-old convict who pleaded guilty to two murders will ever sleep in his own bed or take the mint 1948 Chrysler out for a spin.
Smith died on April 10 just weeks after breaking a decades-long silence and voicing what would be his final wish — to see his son beat the death penalty.
“Hopefully what little bit I do have to say will go along with his someday being released. He’s spent 35 years of his life in there and it’s about long enough to sit in a place like that,” Smith said in a March 22 interview with The Canadian Press in Red Deer, Alta.
Ronald Allen Smith has been on death row since 1983 after fatally shooting two young men while he was high on LSD and alcohol near East Glacier, Mont.
After refusing a plea deal and pleading guilty, his request for the death penalty was granted. He had a change of heart and has fought for his life ever since. Five execution dates have been set over the years and each has been overturned.
The Canadian government sent a letter to Montana Gov. Steve Bullock in 2016 asking for clemency.
“All these years I’ve never, ever told anybody about this situation. Nobody knew that I was Ron’s dad,” Smith said. “Once this goes through, everybody’s going to know who I am.”
Smith, who was 83, sat in a recliner during the interview with his constant companion of the last 13 years on his lap. Queenie, a black miniature poodle, had been with him since his wife, Deloris, died in 2011.
His health was failing. He required a constant supply of oxygen fed to him through a long hose which allowed him to navigate his home.
Initially horrified by his son’s actions, he said he eventually made peace with him and was hoping that the intervention of the federal government would lead to his release.
“There just might be a light at the end of the tunnel you know? It would be nice to have him home for Christmas. My breathing is getting so bad. I don’t know how many more Christmases I’m going to get in. I’ve even got a room for him.”
Smith, who worked in the oil industry before he retired, said his son had a normal upbringing, but was constantly in trouble.
“He was a big problem and it was tough. His mother looked after Ronald while I was chasing the oilpatch. I was all over the place and it was hard for me to try and control him.
Ronald Smith and Rodney Munro admitted to marching cousins Harvey Mad Man, 23, and Thomas Running Rabbit, 20, into the woods by a highway in 1982 and shooting them both in the head with a sawed-off .22-calibre shotgun.
They wanted to steal the men’s car, but Smith also said at the time that he wanted to know what it was like to kill someone.
“I went for a long time and never had anything to do with him,” his father said. “Then I got to thinking there’s all kinds of people out there doing the same thing, or a lot worse, and are back out on the streets.
Munro accepted a plea bargain and was sentenced to 60 years in prison, but he was returned to Canada and released in 1998.
Smith said his son has changed.
“He’s paid his debt. Do I think Ron’s a good man? Oh yeah. He’s as good as you’re going to find. And I’m not just saying that because he’s my son.”