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James Smith

In April of 1986, Warren County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to the Kings Island Camp Ground where they discovered the dead body of Robert Wright in a trailer owned by the Defendant. The Defendant claimed that he had met Wright earlier and that Wright had “mainlined” Cocaine. When he awoke around noon on Saturday, he discovered that Wright was dead. He searched Wright’s pockets and the trailer to determine if he had hidden any drugs and then cleaned up the trailer before calling police. Although the Defendant claimed that Wright had died of an overdose of Cocaine, blood analysis showed only a possible trace of cocaine, no alcohol, a small amount of Codeine and diazepam, and .07 milligrams percentage of Morphine, a lethal concentration. The Coroner determined the cause of death of Robert Wright to be acute intoxication due to a morphine derivative. Earlier in 1986 Reading, Ohio police officers responded to a trailer park where the Defendant was living in Hamilton County. They discovered the dead body of Steven Tittle. The Defendant told Reading police officers a similar story that he found Mr. Tittle dead, after ingesting marijuana and Valium. He told Reading officers that he tried to revive the victim and cleaned up the trailer before officers arrived. No criminal charges were filed at that time. However, after the autopsy in the Warren County murder, the Hamilton County Coroner retested a sample of Tittle’s blood, and also determined that Tittle’s death was due to morphine ingestion. James Smith was indicted for Aggravated Murder and Tampering with Evidence, by the Hamilton County Grand Jury and found guilty of both charges. In 1987, he was tried in Warren County on charges of Aggravated Murder and Tampering with Evidence and Obstruction of Official Business and found guilty. He was sentenced on the charge of Aggravated Murder to life in prison, with parole eligibility after twenty years. The Warren County sentence was to be served consecutively to his conviction in Hamilton County. At trial, the State proved that the Defendant, with prior calculation and design, caused the death of Robert Wright by administering a lethal amount of heroine to Robert Wright, causing his death. While Mr. Smith has continued to proclaim his innocence, two juries in two different counties, found otherwise. His convictions have been reviewed by the trial judges, appellate courts and the Supreme Court of Ohio. The proof of his guilt was never in question. These murders were not Mr. Smith’s first contacts with law enforcement. It appears that he had contacts with police agencies in Dallas Texas, in 1974, and Dade County Florida in 1975. Given the nature of this offense, as well as his conviction for Aggravated Murder, in Hamilton County for a murder committed in the same time frame, the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office is adamantly opposed to granting Inmate Smith parole or any reduction of his sentence. He committed two Aggravated Murders and should serve the consecutive sentences imposed by the Common Pleas Court. The Warren County Sheriff’s Office investigated this case and are opposed to any parole for James K. smith.

Location: Allen Correctional Institution
Offenses: Aggravated Murder
Tampering with Evidence
Min Sentence: 20 Years
Max Sentence: Life
Date Admitted: 9/10/1986
Next eligibility Hearing Date:

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