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Delmer Smith III - Florida Death Row
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    Delmer Smith III - Florida Death Row


    Kathleen Briles, 48




    May 18, 2010

    Death penalty sought in Kathleen Briles case

    MANATEE — The state is seeking the death penalty for murder suspect Delmer Smith III, who is accused of bludgeoning to death Kathleen Briles.

    Smith, 38, is charged with murdering Briles last year in her Terra Ceia home with a cast iron sewing machine. Her husband, James Briles, a well known Palmetto doctor, found her body Aug. 3 on the living room floor, bound and beaten to death.

    The state will be seeking the death penalty against Smith in a trial that is slated to be more than a year away. Assistant State Attorney Brian Iten announced the decision Monday, but no other details were released.

    Before the Briles’ case goes to trial, Smith is scheduled to face trial this fall in Sarasota on numerous charges stemming from four attacks on women in their homes last year. Smith is a suspect in as many as 11 attacks on women in their homes in Manatee and Sarasota counties between February and August 2009.

    Prosecutors have accused Smith of attacking four women in their homes, all of whom investigators say were beaten and bound. Investigators say in two attacks, Smith raped two women with a foreign object. Smith also is charged with the home invasion beating of a couple in their 60s in their Bradenton home last year.

    Smith’s arrest came after months of investigation in which detectives began to believe many of the attacks were being committed by the same man. In at least two of the attacks, DNA found at the crime scenes were the same. But detectives did not receive a match in federal law enforcement databases.

    The break in the case came when authorities arrested Smith after an Aug. 14 bar fight in which police say he beat a man.

    After the arrest, detectives discovered that Smith was on federal probation and began searching his possessions. They searched a storage bin and found electronics stolen from four attacks in Sarasota, as well as items taken from the Briles’ home.

    After discovering Smith had been in federal prison for 15 years for bank robbery, Sarasota detectives learned the FBI had had his DNA sample from prison all along. It had not been entered into federal law enforcement databases after his September 2008 release due to a backlog of entering inmates’ DNA into federal databases.

    FBI officials then fast-tracked Smith’s prison DNA sample into law enforcement databases, and DNA from four attacks in Sarasota matched that sample.

    http://www.bradenton.com/2010/05/18/2292432/death-penalty-sought-for-smith.html#ixzz0oHgxAIz5

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    July 9, 2010

    July 5, 2011: Briles killing trial date set

    A judge set a trial date one year from now for serial rape and murder suspect Delmer Smith III in the killing of Kathleen Briles.

    Smith faces the death penalty in the trial scheduled for July 5, 2011, just short of two years after Dr. James Briles found his wife slain on the living-room floor of the couple’s Terra Ceia home.

    On Aug. 3, 2009, the doctor returned to their house from work to find Kathleen Briles bound and beaten to death with a cast iron sewing machine, according to Manatee County Sheriff’s Office reports. Smith has been charged with first-degree murder.

    Circuit Judge Debra Riva also set a case management hearing in September. Smith did not attend a hearing Thursday, but Riva ordered him to attend the hearing this fall.

    Smith also is charged with a home invasion robbery in Bradenton in which police say he beat and bound a couple in their home. Riva also set that case for trial in July 2011, after the Briles case.

    Both Assistant State Attorney Brian Iten and Smith’s attorney, Michael Reiter, of the Florida Office of Regional Counsel, agreed a trial in the Briles homicide case should precede a trial in the home invasion case.

    Reiter said the result of a homicide trial may affect whether a trial in the home invasion case even moves forward. “It is certainly a possibility,” Iten agreed.

    Smith also faces numerous charges in Sarasota County stemming from home invasion attacks on women there. In those cases, Smith is accused of binding and beating women in their homes, as well as raping two with a foreign object. Those cases are scheduled for trial in November.

    Smith also faces trial in September on a battery charge stemming from a bar fight in which Venice police say he beat a man during a dispute.

    http://www.bradenton.com/2010/07/09/2420518/july-5-2011-briles-killing-trial.html#ixzz0tCOz62o5

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    August 3, 2010

    DNA backlog reduced since Briles’ murder

    One year ago today, Kathleen Briles was found beaten to death in her Terra Ceia home. For months after he found her body, Dr. James Briles pleaded for information in the murder of his wife.

    A backlog of 295,000 federal prisoners’ DNA in the FBI’s database may have kept her killer on the streets — the same man suspected in a series of vicious home invasions that had swept Manatee and Sarasota counties since early 2009.

    The revelations brought demands from law enforcement, residents and politicians to change how the database is kept.

    Today, FBI officials say the backlog has been dramatically decreased.

    But the backlog still stood at 166,000 samples at the end of June, the FBI acknowledged — a marked improvement from April, when the backlog was reported at 258,000 DNA samples.

    The 92,000-sample reduction was welcomed by U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Longboat Key.

    “It’s a very good start, but there is still work that needs to be done,” Buchanan said. “If I had my way, it would have been eliminated yesterday.”

    Delmer Smith III was charged in February with Briles’ slaying — one year after his DNA was first found at the scene of a home invasion.

    When he was charged in October on four other home invasions, FBI officials pledged the DNA backlog would be eliminated within a year after meetings with Buchanan, who called for an overhaul of how DNA is collected and logged.

    “There was a lot of pain inflicted by Smith that could have been avoided had there not been a backlog,” Buchanan said last week.

    Eliminating the backlog is crucial to local law enforcement, says Manatee Sheriff Brad Steube, and he hopes to see it gone by early next year.

    “That would be beautiful. It’s just so important,” Steube said.

    As early as February 2009, Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office deputies had DNA from one of the first home invasions last year. But detectives did not find a match in federal law enforcement databases.

    After Smith was arrested in an August 2009 bar fight, authorities learned he had recently been released from federal prison after serving a 15-year sentence for a Michigan robbery. But he was one of the 295,000 federal prisoners whose DNA had not been entered into law enforcement databases.

    Smith’s DNA was fast-tracked into the system upon local detectives’ request, and his prison DNA sample matched DNA found at four Sarasota home invasion attacks.

    Smith is set to stand trial in September in Sarasota on charges related to the bar fight, and in November on charges related to the rape and beating of several women in home invasion attacks. Smith also will stand trial in July on separate charges that he beat and bound a couple in their Bradenton home.

    In the Briles case, Smith is set to stand trial July 5, 2011, on a charge of first-degree murder. If he is convicted, prosecutors have said they will seek the death penalty.

    Dr. Briles expressed relief that the DNA database backlog had decreased, but stressed that it should be eliminated.

    “My family and a lot of other families have suffered,” he said, “so I am glad to see it going down.”

    http://www.bradenton.com/2010/08/03/2477215/dna-backlog-reduced-since-briles.html#ixzz0vXbu9Hir

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    Delmer Smith found guilty of battery for 2009 bar fight

    Delmer Smith, the suspect in a string of violent home invasion robberies and one homicide, was found guilty Friday of misdemeanor battery for his role in a August 2009 bar fight in Venice.

    He originally had been charged with felony battery. Judge Rochelle T. Curley said the issue the jury had wrestled with was whether the victim had suffered great bodily harm.

    She sentenced Smith to 11 months, 29 days in jail with credit for time served.

    Restitution will be decided at a later date.

    The judge instructed Smith to have no contact with victim Jason Byrne, who is also in the Sarasota County jail because he was arrested Friday morning on an outstanding warrant.

    When asked by the judge after the sentencing if he had anything to say, Smith replied, “No. Thank you.”

    After his arrest after the Aug. 14, 2009, bar fight, authorities identified Smith as the suspect in as many as 12 violent home invasion robberies in Manatee and Sarasota counties during which several women were sexually assaulted, and one, Kathleen Briles of Terra Ceia, was beaten to death. He faces charges in six of the cases.

    He will stand trial on those charges later this year in Sarasota, and next year in Manatee.

    Taking the stand in his own defense this afternoon, Smith said the alleged victim in the bar fight approached him, cursing and waving his finger. Smith said he thought "he was going to knock my teeth out with his forehead."

    "I was trying to leave and he jumped at me," Smith said.

    Smith said he was in the bar to make promotional video for the deejay, who was his girlfriend at the time. Part of the video was shown during the trial, and admitted as evidence.

    The camera fell to the floor during the altercation, and the fight itself did not appear on the video.

    Smith's attorney, Allan F. Baily argued in closing statement that Smith acted in self-defense.

    The prosecutor, Assistant State Attorney Daniel Yuter, contended in his closings that the victim had suffered great bodily harm from a single punch thrown by Smith. The punch broke the orbital bone in the victim's face, Yuter said.

    Yuter also noted that Smith weighed 285 pounds, was all muscle and had been a personal trainer at one point, while the victim weighed 150 pounds and stood 5 feet, 8 inches tall.

    Smith is schedule to stand trial in November in connection to several attacks in Sarasota County, and in July 2011 he will be tried in the Briles case. If found guilty of killing Briles, he could be sentenced to death.

    Smith has pleaded not guilty in the Briles case.

    First up was the trial in Sarasota in connection with the bar fight.

    Venice police arrested Smith after the bar fight in which the victim said Smith attacked him. The victim had requested Smith stop video recording his girlfriend dancing on the bar's dance floor.

    Federal authorities said the bar fight violated Smith's probation for a 1995 bank robbery conviction, for which he was released in September 2008.

    The federal warrant led Venice police and Sarasota County Sheriff's Office deputies to a storage bin used by Smith that held property stolen from four violent attacks on women in their homes, including the rape of two of the women.

    Detectives also linked Smith with some of the crimes by comparing DNA taken from him after his arrest with evidence recovered from the crime scenes.

    Federal prison officials had submitted Smith's DNA to the FBI for placement in a national database while he was still in custody, but it had not been entered because of a backlog in samples. So even though local investigators had recovered DNA from some of the crime scenes, it did not match with anything in databases.

    Local officials have said they think some of the local crimes might have been averted if Smith's DNA had been included in the database.

    FBI says it has been successful in reducing the size of the backlog since last year.

    http://www.bradenton.com/2010/09/10/...#ixzz18UqqOQl1

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    Smith’s Sarasota trial rescheduled

    A man suspected of numerous home invasion attacks on women in Sarasota and Manatee counties is expected to go to trial in four of those cases early next year.

    Delmer Smith, 39, was originally set to go to trial next month on five counts of committing a felony with a weapon, four counts of home invasion, one count of aggravated battery and two counts of sexual battery.

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    Smith attorneys cite conflict

    Attorneys for a man accused of beating several women in their homes and killing a Terra Ceia woman are arguing they cannot ethically represent him. Delmer Smith has charges in half a dozen home invasion attacks in Sarasota and Manatee counties including a murder charge in the brutal slaying of Kathleen Briles. Rosemary Harlem-Wood and Michael Reiter, both attorneys with the state Criminal Conflict and Civil Regional Counsel, argued before Circuit Court Judge Debra Riva that their office previously represented another man who was considered a suspect in some of the Sarasota home invasions. Both attorneys argued they recently became aware of the conflict after reviewing discovery information that showed Christopher Sellars was a suspect in some of the Sarasota cases before Smith was arrested. Riva decided to reserve judgment while she reviewed the matter.

    http://www.floridabar.org/DIVCOM/PI/...3!OpenDocument

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    Palmetto doctor fighting for wife's cause

    Palmetto, Florida - It has been more than a year and a half since the murder of Kathleen Briles.

    The fun-loving mother and wife, who loved to rescue animals and was going back to school, was found on her living room floor gagged, bound and beaten to death.

    Kathleen's husband says his heart is still broken. "The pain is not as sharp. The emotions are easier to control."

    Her killer, he says, ruined his life and countless others.

    "The one thing that doesn't leave is my absolute disdain and disgust for the person who did this. That's never going to change," Dr. Briles says.

    Kathleen was found by her husband, Dr. James Briles, after returning from finishing rounds at Manatee Memorial Hospital.

    Sadly, Dr. Briles found Kathleen in a pool of blood on their living room floor.

    She was bound with duct tape.

    Detectives said she had been bludgeoned to death by an iron sewing machine.

    In August 2009, fear took over Manatee and Sarasota counties as Delmer Smith, the alledged killer charged with these crimes, was on the loose.

    He is said to have also brutally raped numerous women in a shocking crime spree prior to allegedly killing Kathleen Briles.

    Dr. James Briles and his three children - Kristin, a nurse - Calvin, a medical student and Curtis, a young Iraq War veteran serving in the military at the time of his mother's murder - want justice.

    They are not just content with seeking justice for the accused serial rapist and killer now facing the death penalty for Kathleen's murder.

    They want tougher laws for pawn shops.

    Calvin Briles says, "It just doens't make sense, we're in the year 2011, why don't we take this paper system and make it electronic and then we can make it statewide. It only makes perfect sense."

    Right now the state of Maryland has a system in place that's considered the gold standard so to speak, of how pawn shops are interacting with police depts, it keeps them in closer contact than any other state in America.

    Tristan O'Connell buys and sells jewelry each day in Pinellas Park. He moved here from Maryland and agrees that the pawn shops laws need to be stronger.

    O'Connell told us, "Coming from Maryland where we have an online system, you know, it took what we had on sheets and put it into the system itself."

    So, the family has collected 10,000 signatures, but still need 15,000 more.


    The Briles family, along with nearly every law enforcement agency in the state, including the Florida Sheriff's Association, Florida Police Chiefs Association, and the Florida Law Enforcement Property Recovery Unit, lawmakers, thousands of citizens, as well as pawnbrokers and secondhand dealers, believe that Delmer Smith may have been stopped sooner with tougher pawn shops.

    The Briles family, along with nearly every law enforcement agency in the state, including the Florida Sheriff's Association, Florida Police Chiefs Association, and the Florida Law Enforcement Property Recovery Unit, lawmakers, thousands of citizens, as well as pawnbrokers and secondhand dealers, believe that Delmer Smith may have been stopped sooner with tougher pawn shops.

    The family is seeking change that will help law enforcement track these dangerous criminals before they hurt more innocent families.

    The family's effort, known as Kathleen's Cause, has worked to submit SB 1662 (Bennett) and HB 1323 (Rouson, Steube, Boyd) to amend current pawnshop and secondhand dealer laws.

    SB 1662 and HB 1323 have been filed and referred to committee, but have yet to be place on the committee's agendas. Kathleen's Family and Law Enforcement are in need of statewide momentum to let legislators know how important this is to the citizens of Florida.

    If the bill is not acted on by the House and Senate this week, the bill may not progress this session.

    For more details, please see the attached legislative summary and go to www.kathleenscause.com.

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    Kathleen Briles was not the only victim of murder by this monster. My sister, Georgann Lee Smith, was the first to be murdered by this epitome of evil in Sarasota, County on April 6, 2009. We received word from the lead Detective in this case (Detective Dusseaux) that forensics finally linked Delmer's dna to my sisters belongings in her home after two years. However, they will not charge him because there is no proof that he committed the crime (not enough evidence to prove it) I for one think this is ridiculous because my sister would never hang around with scum like this. She was a good person ... but the media put her off as not being very important. There has been no coverage what-so-ever on the murder of my sister. We couldn't even have a viewing for her because she was bludgeoned to death. Anyhow, I pray he gets the death penalty, but I want him charged in Georgann's murder! Below is an article written about her by a PI.

    http://pibillwarner.wordpress.com/20...elt-in-karate/

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    Welcome to the site J4G. Wish it was under better circumstances.

    I read the article written about Georgann. Seems she did everything in her power to protect herself. At some point they may be able to tie him in Georgann's murder.

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    Georgann Lee Smith's memorial page

    I was able to find one article relating to Georgann Smith's murder.

    Sarasota slaying is tied to attacks

    HOME INVASIONS: Police now seek same man in robberies and a killing

    Since late February, detectives have tried to catch a man who they say attacks older women in their homes, beating them during a vicious string of robberies.

    Now, that same suspect has been linked to a slaying.

    Authorities say the killing last week of a woman on Jo-An Drive in Sarasota may be connected to the home invasions that have put residents on edge across Sarasota and Manatee counties.

    FBI agents and Florida Department of Law Enforcement officials are helping local detectives track the man, who is suspected in as many as nine attacks during the last two months.

    "I said when this first began that there is a fine line between what he was doing and murder," said Capt. Bill Spitler, of the Sarasota Police Department. "It appears now that he has crossed that line."

    The investigation seemed to cool in April. Officials would not say whether they had any solid clues, descriptions of the man varied widely and no new crimes had been reported since late March.

    On April 5, though, Georgann Smith, 37, was beaten and killed in her home in the 2100 block of Jo-An Drive, not far from Stickney Point Road. Friends found her body on the floor.

    Like the victims in the other home invasions, Smith lived alone. Police would not say whether she was robbed.

    The attacker appears to be targeting mostly middle-aged women, creeping into their homes or yards and sneaking up behind them. He strikes them in the head, usually binds them with cords or rope he finds in their homes, then grabs cash, credit cards, jewelry and electronics.

    In almost every case, the suspect wore a mask and he sometimes wore gloves. Detectives believe he cases the houses beforehand, peering into windows and looking for women in their 50s or 60s.

    One victim was sexually assaulted. He has told two victims that he is stealing because he "needs crack cocaine."

    Since the beginning, eyewitness descriptions have stymied investigators. Because the women -- beaten, bound and gagged in at least three of the attacks -- were injured and traumatized, they have given varying accounts of the suspect. One women described her attacker as short and older. Another said the man who attacked her was tall and young.

    "We need the public's help to solve this," said Sarasota County sheriff Tom Knight.

    "We need neighbors to watch out for one another, to look out for anything suspicious, to call us if they see anything that looks out of place."

    The first home invasion was Feb. 22 on Osage Terrace, near Clark and Beneva roads. An armed man burst through an unlocked front door and tied up an 82-year-old woman and her 56-year-old daughter.

    The elder woman was sexually attacked.

    On March 7, a woman was in the back yard of her Bougainvillea Street home, near Sarasota Memorial Hospital, when someone hit her in the head, dragged her inside and tied her on the bed.

    Three days later, on Goldenrod Street, a few blocks from Bougainvillea, a woman was dozing in a recliner when she was hit in the head. The woman, though, was not alone. She called for her husband and her attacker ran off.

    Then, on March 14, a 62-year-old woman was watching TV on Carmilfra Way, near Phillippi Creek, when a robber sneaked in and hit her on the head.

    Meanwhile, investigators in Manatee County are trying to find out whether four home invasions in that county are related to the Sarasota crimes. In a March 31 case, a woman answered the door at her home in the 4000 block of State Road 70 and a man rushed in and hit her on the head.

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