Local News

Husband arrested in soldier's death; police find knife

Posted October 3, 2008

— Fayetteville police said Friday that the husband of a Fort Bragg soldier who was stabbed to death planned the attack.

Police charged Sgt. Richard D. Smith, 26, and Pfc. Matthew Kvapil, 18, with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the death of Smith's wife, Sgt. Christina E. Smith, 29.

Christina Smith was stabbed in the neck Tuesday night while she was walking with her husband near their house on Baxter Street. She died on the way to a local hospital.

Richard Smith, originally of Denton, Texas, and Kvapil, of Santee, Calif., both worked in the 5th Battalion of the 4th Psychological Operations Group at Fort Bragg, officials said. Christina Smith was a graphics illustrator in that unit. Richard Smith is an electronics maintenance technician.

Fayetteville Police said Richard Smith agreed to pay Kvapil $30,000 to carry out the stabbing.

"The 18-year-old's involvement in this is that he was contracted by the husband, Mr. Smith, to commit the murder,” police spokeswoman Theresa Chance said.

Divers found a knife Friday afternoon in Cross Creek, near Shaw Mill Road. They had used cameras to see in the murky water.

After scouring the brush along the creek bank, police also recovered a hat and a black T-shirt.

Kvapil is accused of wielding the knife. Investigators said he shed his clothes as he ran from the murder scene and dumped them and the weapon in the creek about two miles away.

Police won't say if either suspect confessed. Police told reporters that "a very reliable source" led them to the creek.

Divers continued Friday afternoon to look for the sheath that goes with the knife.

Investigators plan to take the knife and other evidence to a laboratory to process for any fingerprints or DNA evidence.

Richard Smith and Kvapil were held in the Cumberland County Jail with no bond. They are scheduled to appear in court on Monday.

Earlier this week, Richard Smith told detectives he ran toward the person stabbing his wife and the person ran away. He said he then ran to a neighbor's house for help.

Richard Smith was treated at the hospital for minor injuries. Police would not discuss the nature of his wounds.

Christina Smith, originally from Corpus Christi, Texas, was a graduate of Xavier University in Cincinnati and had earned several awards in the Army. She enlisted in the army in September 2005, but has not been deployed overseas.

She arrived at Fort Bragg in April 2006. Her husband came to the post in February that year.

Richard Smith enlisted in the Army in March 2005. He deployed to Iraq in August 2006 and returned in June 2007. He attended one year of college.

Kvapil joined in the Army in 2007. He has never been deployed.

Special Operations Commanders said they were not aware of any previous disciplinary action taken against Richard Smith or Kvapil.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • janeybelle Oct 3, 2008

    Most of the major crimes in the past in Fayetteville usually involve someone in the military. I wonder if it is something that happened to them while they are on active duty or if this is something that they would consider doing in their hometown. Fayetteville is my hometown (I'm not military related) and I wish people would go to their hometown to commit their murders.

  • eatme Oct 3, 2008

    That is so sad!! :(

  • Tired Of Excuses Oct 3, 2008

    Thank you for your comment about Fayetteville. The Triangle isn't without it's criminal element.

  • Adelinthe Oct 3, 2008

    Ahhh, so now the plot's becoming clearer.

    So this dude didn't have the guts to kill his own wife; he ruined the life of an 18 year old to do so???

    They're both nuts.

    Praying for the loved ones of the wife. Poor thing to be married to a murderous idiot like that.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • blueyedboyz Oct 3, 2008

    I figured from the get go. It sounded fishy. I really don't think this had anything to do with the military except for the fact that she had a large sum of life insurance. Many people today are so obsessed with worldly things and money. When he looked at her, he saw dollar signs. Remember, he did tell the 18-year-old he would pay him $30,000. Where would he have gotten that kind of money. He does serve in the military you know. Remember...money isn't the root of all evil. It is the LOVE of money that is evil. I just hope that they both get right before it is too late. God bless her soul.

  • lauraj85 Oct 3, 2008

    "ummm..Duh and we knew this from day one....I will not step foot in Fayetteville, let alone by FORT BRAGG.....Those people are CRAZY...." - newfamily2001

    That was an ignorant and discriminatory comment. There are murderers and other criminals everywhere, not just Fayetteville and Ft. Bragg. My husband was stationed at Bragg for five years and was deployed to Iraq once and he is FAR from being a murderer. I wish people would educate themselves before saying down right nasty comments like that!

  • Cricket at the lake Oct 3, 2008

    Do they really think they won't get caught? Well, some like Brad don't. It must be all about the money or they would just get divorced.

  • boolittlek Oct 3, 2008

    Regarding the military angle--yes, the military needs to do much more in the way of offering psychological services to soldiers, and yes, there are documented cases of violence (domestic and otherwise) committed by soldiers suffering from war-induced post-traumatic stress. However, this was a murder for hire. It could have happened (and does happen in this country everyday) in any walk of life; I don't think it had anything to do with the military. Guys like the husband (and the other soldiers recently accused of murder) are just plain evil--it'd be nice if sociopaths like this could be screened out of the service.

  • jimbo141 Oct 3, 2008

    ummm..Duh and we knew this from day one....I will not step foot in Fayetteville, let alone by FORT BRAGG.....Those people are CRAZY.... newfamily2001

    just beacuse there are 3 wives murdered(out of over 50,000 stationed ther) does not make Ft. Bragg, or the military a bad place. however these CRAZY people protect your right to say such things!!!!!!

  • f6rider Oct 3, 2008

    Sad story but it played out exactly as I had expected, I told my wife as soon as the story broke this would probably be what happened! Unbelievable....