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Reader: Smith should not be set free


I do not know David Smith today, for all I know; he is a changed, loving man who has found Christ. He may be a model prisoner. If I make it to heaven, I may even see David Smith there if his heart is now pure and he has found forgiveness.

Let God sort out Smith’s eternal fate. Here on this earth, it is your (the parole board’s) responsibility to extract man’s justice. There is no justice under the law if you set him free.

I expect the parole board to confine Smith in prison for the rest of his life for the four counts of first degree murder.

Smith is now living the life he chose. You should not take that choice away from him. He made it ... chose it as a natural consequence of his actions.

Smith has already received more than enough leniency from the U.S. Supreme Court, the Indiana Supreme Court and the Indiana Legislature. Had Smith committed this same crime just eight months later he would have been 18 years old and the re-instated death penalty would have been in effect. Smith has had enough leniency.

I will be 70 in a few weeks. Keith Spencer was the father of the murdered boys. He was my mentor and friend at WTHR-TV13 in Indianapolis. On the morning of Feb. 15, 1977, I was awakened by a clock radio. It was time for Paul Harvey News. “They are calling it the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre,” Harvey said to his 22 million listeners. Those words still ring in my ears 44-years later. It wasn’t long before I learned the rest of the story.

Smith murdered four innocent young men just for the sport of it. He also thought he had murdered Betty Spencer. As she lay on the floor, one of the boys lying next to her was shot in the head and he cried out “I’m dying.”

Betty Jane Spencer spent the rest of her life working tirelessly and compassionately for victims’ rights.

Ten years later, I was working for a Christian ministry and I was in a position to hire Keith Spencer and move him to Hawaii where he spent the rest of his life in a Pacific paradise. Keith worked for a ministry that broadcast the gospel from Hawaii to 50 nations across Asia, Australia and the South Pacific. He built that radio station. He quietly spent the remainder of his life trying to uplift others and give hope to millions of people he would never meet.

Every Valentine’s Day in that Pacific paradise was a reminder of David Smith’s actions … in reality, every day was a reminder. Keith’s daughter, Dianne did not get to grow up with her brothers. Dianne’s daughters, Kate and Sarah, never got to meet their uncles. Keith Spencer never got to see or hold what would have easily been a half-dozen or more grandchildren. The four murdered boys … boys ... not men, but boys, Raymond, 17, Reeve, 16, Ralph, 14, and Greg, 22; they never got to live the life of their choosing.

Keith Spencer died Sept. 11, 2015 and was returned 4,300 miles back to Hollandsburg Cemetery to be laid to rest with his boys. I had the honor of speaking at his funeral in Rockville.

Do not parole David Smith.

Douglas W. Garlinger



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