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Suspect: Husband requested wife's death several times

Posted October 7, 2008
Updated October 23, 2008

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— A Fort Bragg soldier repeatedly asked an 18-year-old colleague to kill his wife – also a soldier – and eventually offered $30,000 for the deed to be carried out, the 18-year-old told authorities in police records released Monday.

According to a search warrant affidavit, Army Pfc. Matthew Kvapil told investigators he dressed in black and hid in bushes on Sept. 30 while Sgt. Richard Smith, 26, and his wife, Sgt. Christina Smith, 29, walked near their home. When the pair passed his hiding spot, he told investigators, he jumped out and stabbed the woman to death.

Both men appeared in court Monday, charged with one count each of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder. Superior Court Judge Tal Baggett scheduled probable cause hearings for Oct. 23 for both men. Both will also receive court-appointed attorneys.

Relatives and friends of the defendants rushed past reporters on their way out, declining through a sheriff's office spokeswoman to comment.

According to an affidavit, detective Jeff Locklear said someone came forward with information about the case. The person, whose name was not released, said they had been approached more than once by Richard Smith about killing his wife. The person said told police they refused to take part and told the detective that Richard Smith had talked to others about murdering his wife.

The search warrant affidavit entered in court Monday stated that officers responding to an emergency call the night of the slaying found Richard Smith holding his wife, stabbed and bleeding, in the roadway near their Fayetteville home.

Richard Smith first told police an attacker stabbed his wife in the neck and fled as he chased after him. She died on the way to the hospital.

Officials who interviewed Richard Smith at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center later that night mentioned that his voice sounded robotic as he recounted the events that led to his wife's death. He also mentioned having picked up a friend – Kvapil – to buy supplies for an upcoming camping trip.

When Locklear spoke to Richard Smith a second time, Smith “changed his rendition of the attack and how it occurred several times,” according to the affidavit. Smith said he and Kvapil had plotted a fake mugging to scare Christina Smith.

In a second interview with authorities, Kvapil said Richard Smith had propositioned him at least twice about killing Christina Smith. Richard Smith said he'd done it before, Kvapil told police, and mentioned how lucrative murder-for-hire could be. Kvapil told authorities he wanted to back out when he realized who the victim was but Richard Smith told him he would “send someone after him” if he did not carry out the plan," according to warrants.

Police would not comment on details of the search warrants, and it was not clear whether they took seriously Kvapil's claims of having been paid for slayings.

Richard Smith told authorities he'd mentioned having his wife killed to people several times, but only in fun.

Kvapil led authorities to the knife used in the attack, according to the warrant. He had discarded it in a creek several miles from the crime scene.

Officials took several items from the Smiths' home on Sunday, the warrant stated, including a computer, leather gloves, various personal documents and several "sharp-edged weapons."

A spokeswoman for the Army's Special Operations Command said Richard Smith, of Denton, Texas, had returned in June from 10 months in Iraq. Kvapil, of Santee, Calif., joined the Army in 2007. Christina Smith, of Mount Orab, Ohio, enlisted in September 2005.

All three were assigned to the 4th Psychological Operations Group.

Christina Smith's death marked the third time in four months that a husband or lover has been charged with murder in the death of a soldier based at Fort Bragg. It follows the slayings of Spc. Megan Touma, 23, and 2nd Lt. Holley Wimunc, 24. It also comes less than a year after Marine Corps Cpl. Maria Lauterbach, stationed at Camp Lejeune, was found dead. A fellow Marine faces a murder charge in her death and is awaiting extradition from Mexico.

33 Comments

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  • mom2threecld Oct 7, 2008

    what is wrong with the male population??? this is happening way to frequently

  • kopfjaeger2001 Oct 7, 2008

    To Jerry75: in the quarter plus century I've been in the Army, I have been trained in many techniques to take a life. And I thank God that I've never had to use them. Those of us who serve know that we might have to do so and will do what is needed. Having said that, that does not make me or anyone else in the military automatically a killer. I have been married for 24 years, and yes my wife has made me angry a few times. She also knows that I go for a walk to calm down, and then usually forget what made me angry or we talk it out. She also knows that I would never,never raise a hand to her. That is cowardly and her and me agree on that. You see, there are many of us, nearly 99.8% of us who are in know the difference between right and wrong. And to Babyface, these two creatures forfeited their right to breathe the same air as the rest of us law abiding citizens.

  • sunshine1224 Oct 7, 2008

    i think all the military husbands/wives should be checked out..if u notice majority of the killings here lately have been with military husbands and wives. sumthing is going on..thats a darn shame they had to kill her like that.if he wanted her dead so bad,,,why wasnt he man enough to do it himself? i hope justice prevails and they both get wat they deserve.

  • sbgreene Oct 7, 2008

    Its treason what these 2 did. They should be put to death by the military. Any other person that kills another miltary person is a tratior and should be put to death!

  • ChristaS Oct 7, 2008

    I don't know if we can particularly hold the military, per se, responsible for the killings of these women. I realize that being in a "military" setting can induce desensitization in regards to the taking of lives, but to kill one's own spouse is, I would imagine, something totally different, more emotionally charged. Usually the act of killing involves no form of conscience, be it inherent or taught by the military way of life.

  • danaybanks2 Oct 7, 2008

    I wonder why the guy didn't go to the proper authorities when the husband asked him the FIRST TIME!? They could have rigged him up with a recorder, so when the husband asked AGAIN, he would have been taped! And, the people who he JOKED to about his wife? I have to question their intelligence, JOKING and KILLING have no place in the same sentence! There is nothig even remotely funny about killing someone! These guys are obviously insane!

  • usarmychic Oct 7, 2008

    Tarheelson- If someone doesn't have a crminal record, it is almost impossible to forsee them doing something like this! As for the "quality" of our soldiers, marines, airmen, and seamen, they are among the best in the nation. I'd like to see some of you people deal with what my family goes through. My husband, sister, brother-in-law, two cousins, and myself are all members in different branches along with a long history of family service before us. We are all educated, well-rounded, and just trying to make it through life like everyone else. Stop and think about it, and quit acting like we are all scum. And remember, people kill every day. I think there is a much bigger problem with this in general society than in the mlitary. We obviously aren't all bad. This kind of stuff just blows my mind. There are bad apples everywhere you look, but you don't have to let them spoil the bunch.

  • Space Mountain Oct 7, 2008

    The military has a serious problem with this. It makes you wonder if theyc are about their soldiers at all, or just use them and then forget about them. It also says something about the quality of people they are accepting these days for ths military. And how do these women end up with these men?

  • dsms6556us Oct 7, 2008

    As far Im concerned these 2 idiots are animals and should get the death penalty. I just don't understand why people would do this. It makes you wonder about todays society.

  • Heavensent Oct 7, 2008

    These people who will committ a murder must be very weak-minded. Chances are that you will get caught. Why even take the risk. You can't put a price tag on a person's life. I hope both of these guys pay the consequences for this cold blooded murder.

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