Monday, 28 April 2014

The Murder of Kathleen Marie Smith

A murder from 1984 is solved twenty four years later, with the jailing of the assailant in 2008, but was it "beyond a reasonable doubt?"  The evidence given in court, from what I have researched, would have made me seriously think that the burden of proof was not proven beyond a reasonable doubt, but then again, I could be wrong.  Kathleen Marie Smith was bludgeoned to death in her condo, which was situated a mile west of Arizona State University.  It was believed that she may have been suffocated.  What made this difficult to prove, was that her killer had poured petrol over her and then set her alight.  The evidence given about the assailant fleeing the condo raises questions.

    Lisa Steedman, 14, whom was with her grandmother, Ina Weisbaum, saw a man running, almost knocking her grandmother down.  They told Police he had left a shoe imprint in a flowerbed.  They also repeated this to prosecutors and defending lawyers.  Ina Weisbaum told an attorney in 1989, which he recorded, saying it was a large footprint.( she passed away a few years later)  The jury never heard this tape.  Police arrested Robert Ortloff but he was alibied by his girlfriend Jennifer Wade.  The footprint was four sizes bigger than Ortloff`s. The case went cold.

    Now it was 1986, and a US soldier received a mail bomb.  It was quickly traced to Ortloff, who was said to have sent it to the soldier because he was trying to romance his girlfriend, Jennifer Wade.  She gave evidence against him in two trials.  The first resulted in a hung jury, but he was convicted in the second trial, netting him a 50 year sentence.  Now fast forward to 2008, and prosecutor Noel Levy has Ortloff on trial for the murder of Kathleen.  Lisa Steedman has now stated that the man fleeing the condo did NOT step into the flowerbed, despite her and her grandmothers` statements years before.  Evidence was given by jailed lawyer Fred Tokars, a notoriously corrupt criminal, who arranged the murder of his wife, saying that Ortloff told him about it, thinking the statute of limitations would have run out.  Evidence was also given by another lawyer friend of Tokars, Alan Bell.

    Now Jennifer Wade changed her story, saying that she lied to Police about the whereabouts of Ortloff, to protect him.  The motives put forward by the Prosecution for Kathleen`s murder was a $125,000 life insurance policy which Ortloff hoped to claim, and that Kathleen was going to have him charged with stealing $7000 from a joint business account they had set up in order to open a Subway branch.  Her family believe he is the killer but thought he over-reacted to the theft claim, and carried out an evil act.  Does anybody have an opinion on this?  Let me know.