MARTINEZ (CBS SF) — A wheelchair-bound millionaire defendant in a 35-year-old Richmond cold case homicide who went missing earlier this week was found guilty by a jury Thursday.
Sherill Smothers – who has been in a wheelchair since a car crash in the 1990s — learned his fate Thursday morning.
Smothers was convicted of killing his girlfriend in her Richmond home nearly 35 years ago. He now faces a sentence of 25 years to life in state prison.
Smothers is accused of brutally murdering a single mother in her Richmond home in 1983 while her children slept in the next room.
Prosecutors used DNA evidence to connect him to the crime in 2015.
He had been ordered to stay in the Martinez area, but reportedly told his lawyer he was coming from Granite Bay, the upscale Sacramento area neighborhood where he lives. When he didn’t show up in court, the judge issued a no-bail bench warrant.
Smothers was partially paralyzed in a car accident five years after the murder and successfully sued General Motors, winning a $6 million judgment.
That enabled him to post his $1.3 million bail years later when DNA evidence linked him to the cold case.
Marsha Carter was brutally murdered in her Richmond Home, stabbed to death while her children slept in the next room
They awoke to find their mother missing and her room turned into a bloody crime scene with a knife sticking out of her pillow
Carter’s 10-month-old baby was found underneath the bed.
Decades later, Richmond police finally arrested Smothers, who was Carter’s on-again, off-again boyfriend.