Monday, January 31, 2011

Man Accused Of Kidnapping Brittany Smith Says She Rode Along Voluntarily

Accused abductor Jeffrey Easley said in a letter from jail that 12-year-old Brittany Smith was his willing cross-country travelling companion.

"I did not kidnapp her or take her aginest her will," Easley, 32, wrote in a letter postmarked Thursday from the Western Virginia Regional Jail. "She made me promise not to leave her."

The one-page letter, hand-printed on lined notebook paper, contains misspellings and lacks punctuation. It doesn't mention the slaying of Tina Smith, 41, who was Easley's girlfriend and Brittany's mother.

"I want the truth out there not all these storys," Easley writes.

It continues: "I made a promise to britt in front of her mom back in july

"i promised never to leave her behind and always to protect her. that what I did."

Tina Smith was found slain at her western Roanoke County home Dec. 6, the same day police discovered that Easley, Brittany and Smith's Dodge Neon were missing. Police found the pair a week later, camping in downtown San Francisco.

Easley was charged with abducting Brittany. Police have called him a suspect in Smith's killing, but no one has been charged.

His letter responds to a Roanoke Times request to interview him.

"Its about time," the letter begins.

Easley told jail authorities on Friday that he would agree to a jailhouse interview, but quickly changed his mind and said he wanted his attorney, Thomas Roe, present. Roe, angry that a reporter had contacted Easley, declined to elaborate on Easley's letter.

"It's way too early in the case," Roe said. "It could hurt his defense."

Brittany has retained Altavista attorney Glenn Berger, who in 1997 won a dismissal of murder charges against an 8-year-old Franklin County boy accused of beating his stepfather to death. Berger would not answer questions about whether Brittany will testify against Easley, or whether she is cooperating with police.

Brittany's father, Benny Smith, a police officer in South Boston, said he did not want to talk about the investigation.

He said Brittany shares time with him and other relatives, sees a counselor twice a week and is being home-schooled.

"Brittany is doing a lot better than anybody thought she would be at this time," Smith said Friday. "She's tough, and she'll make it through all this."

Tina Smith's stepmother said she doesn't understand why no one has been charged in the slaying.

"I'm sitting here going, 'Why isn't this guy being charged with my daughter's death?' " said Liz Dyer, who lives in South Boston, Tina Smith's hometown.

"I know it's not forgotten, but I just would prefer that I could see some evidence that he's going to be charged."

Roanoke County police Lt. Chuck Mason said in a statement on Friday that his detectives and the Roanoke County commonwealth's attorney's office have been actively investigating "the crimes committed against Tina and Brittany Smith." Mason wouldn't answer questions about the case.

"It takes time to complete forensic examinations and to analyze the enormous volume of evidence compiled in this case so far," Mason said in the statement. "Let me assure you when the investigation is complete, and we have a case that is ready for court, we will place charges for the crimes that were committed."

Easley, a landscaper whose mother lives in Franklin County, met Tina Smith online over the summer and moved into the Smiths' home in October. The three became close, according to their postings on social media websites.

Brittany's MySpace page mentions that she and Easley worked out and watched movies together. He called her "Short Stack." She called him "Handcuff Buddy."

Even if Brittany willingly accompanied Easley, the law doesn't care. She's 12, not old enough to give legal consent, police and prosecutors have said.

Easley was being held in solitary confinement at the regional jail. A preliminary hearing on the abduction charge is scheduled for Feb. 8.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sociopaths lie.