19-year-old shepherd confesses to murder, life sentence expected.
A shepherd has confessed to the murder of a Georgian-American family who disappeared on 6 July 2018. He claimed responsibility for shooting both Ryan Smith and his son with a hunting rifle.
Police arrested the 19-year-old shepherd who claimed that the conflict began with a verbal dispute. As for Ryan’s wife, Laura, she fell off a cliff while trying to escape from the argument.
A special briefing was called by the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia earlier today in order to announce these details. According to the MIA, the police received an emergency call on 6 July, informing them of the disappearance of the American family who has resided in Georgia for many years.
Law enforcement officers found the car of the missing family and their personal belongings in Zveri village, Dusheti area on the same day, including the body of Laura Smith which was found in the gorge at a waterfall without any signs of physical harm.
The police reported that the accused left Ryan Smith’s body at the scene where the murder took place, and buried the body of the child nearby in order to hide his crime.
Reginfo news agency quoted the shepherd’s testimony in which he claimed that he had escorted the Smiths to the waterfall, and helped Laura Smith when she stumbled and nearly fell down. According to the shepherd, this irritated Ryan Smith and lead to a dispute which escalated, and this is when he killed the American. “The child began to cry so I had to kill him,” he said and added that Lora tried to escape and slid off the side of the cliff.
The Smiths had lived in Georgia for more than six years. They held dual Georgian and American citizenship since 2012.
An investigation is being conducted under Article 109 of the Georgian Criminal Code: ‘murder in aggravating circumstances of two or more people’, and the ‘murder of a minor with particular cruelty’, which carries a life sentence.
A psychiatric examination will be conducted to establish the sanity of the accused.