Local News

Fort Bragg soldiers appear in court on murder charges

Posted October 6, 2008

— Two Fort Bragg soldiers accused of plotting to kill a fellow soldier were appointed a public defender during a first court appearance Monday afternoon.

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

Both men have another hearing set for Oct. 23.

Police say someone stabbed Christine Smith in the neck Tuesday night while she and her husband were walking near their home in the Hillendale subdivision of Fayetteville.

Richard Smith initially told police that someone ambushed them and then ran off. But investigators believe Smith offered Kvapil $30,000 to kill his wife.

They say Kvapil shed his clothes as he ran from the homicide scene and dumped them and the weapon in a creek on Shaw Mill Road about two miles away.

Divers recovered the knife Friday afternoon.

Richard Smith and Kvapil, who work in the 5th Battalion of the 4th Psychological Operations Group at Fort Bragg, were in the Cumberland County Jail Monday afternoon under no bond.

Christina Smith was a graphics illustrator in the same battalion. Richard Smith is an electronics maintenance technician. Kvapil is also an illustrator.

The case, the fourth in less than a year involving female military personnel, has prompted demands from women's advocacy groups for the Army to address domestic violence.

In January, the charred remains of pregnant Marine Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach were found in the back yard of Cpl. Cesar Laurean.

An employee found the body of Army Spc. Megan Touma in a Fayetteville motel room in June. She was seven months' pregnant.

And 2nd Lt. Holley Wimunc was reported missing in July after someone set fire to her apartment. She was later found dead in a shallow grave

Several groups planned to hold a vigil in Fayetteville Wednesday to remember the women.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • diver Oct 7, 2008

    Does anyone ever marry for true love anymore?

  • Bradley07 Oct 6, 2008

    whoa!! Do they not know its the enemy they are suppose to after, not their own people. Yikes!

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Oct 6, 2008

    Dr. Dataclerk, after seeing what happened to this young lady by these two men, why would anyone think that the "Lord" would help now? Again, 30,000 children die on earth EVERY DAY from starvation.

    There certainly seems to be some serious domestic violence issues in the military. Maybe this collateral damage is just "normal" fallout when you train people to kill other humans. It sounds like yet another reason to use your brain instead of brawn and seek peace.

  • sayitoutloud Oct 6, 2008

    Greed gets you absolutly NO WHERE.

  • ChristaS Oct 6, 2008

    I don't think that women and men think killing is "okay." Some folks are just ignorant and evil and that's all there is to it. You can't teach stupidity.......it just comes naturally. I don't get it - why not just leave the person - what is the motive - greed, inability to pay support, what????

  • Gnathostomata Oct 6, 2008

    And the pundits will say that all of the grossly exaggerated killing videos and gameboys have absolutely nothing to do with the acceptance of taking life. What we sow we shall reap. And all good people have to do is "nothing" to allow evil to become the norm.

  • Dr. Dataclerk Oct 6, 2008

    Dumb and dumber! What a team! May they both get life in prison with parole. My condolences to her family that they will get through this. Continue to lean on the Lord.

  • Seeminglyopposed Oct 6, 2008

    And you wonder why everyone always expect the husband or boyfriend, because it seems almost 99.5 percent of them are killed by them, and the stats seem to be escalating.

    I know times are hard and going through a divorce can be difficult and expensive if you have anything, but you can go to the court house and get the papers and do them yourself, agree on a settlement and be done with it. It doesn't have to result to killing the woman. 9 out 10 you are going to be caught and not get her insurance money anyways. This is a bad time for women.

  • thought Oct 6, 2008

    Does anyone know how long they were married? This really makes me angry that people (yes men and women) think this is ok. We need to teach people better.