One in a Trillion DNA Foiled Vicious Seal Beach Cold Case Killer
|Smith: stripped his male victim before torture and murder, hmmm . . .|
Somehow Tina Smith, no relation, fell in love with him in 2006 and suffered the consequences.
He accused her of stealing $5,000 from him, tied her up with rope, doused her with lighter fluid and tried to burn her alive.
But the fireplace lighter device failed to provide the spark and she eventually forgave him.
One year later, Smith--a serious drug addict--accused her again of stealing the money and, while driving a vehicle, stabbed her in her left and right thighs with a knife.
Tina broke up with Smith, but months later joined him in Las Vegas for reconciliation.
Guess what happened next.
Yep. He accused her a third time of stealing the $5,000. After stripping her he tied her to the Four Queens casino hotel room bed. He sliced her body with a knife, stabbed her in the leg, beat her with the butt of a handgun and fired a shot. He eventually let her go and she told police, who put him in custody.
Homicide detectives at the Orange County Sheriff's Department used Smith's arrest record to link his DNA to a gory 1988 cold case murder of Robert Haugen, a Seal Beach marijuana salesman who had been stripped, tied up, tortured, stabbed 18 times, nearly decapitated and set on fire.
How sure were deputies that Smith was the killer? Forensic testing of blood at the crime scene found Smith's DNA, a profile so rare that it belongs to just one out of a trillion people, according to court records.
(There are only six billion people on the planet.)
A 2010 jury found him guilty of special circumstances murder and torture. Superior Court Judge William R. Froeberg sentenced the killer to prison.
Smith appealed, claiming that his incriminating statements to deputies should have been blocked from the jury.
This month, a California Court of Appeal based in Santa Ana rejected the complaint.
Upshot: Smith, 52, will remain locked inside High Desert State Prison in Susanville.
He will never leave there alive.
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