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Bothell man charged in wife’s murder allegedly confessed crime to friend
A Bothell man was charged today with the first-degree murder of his estranged wife, more than four months after the crime.
Court documents shed more light on the police investigation and evidence against Alan Justin Smith, 37.
They also state that Smith confessed the crime to a friend.
Smith is currently in the Snohomish County Jail in lieu of a $1 million bail that was set during his hearing today at Everett District Court. The Snohomish County prosecutor believes that Smith beat and drowned Susann Smith to death in their Bothell home in February.
Police obtained a statement from a friend of Alan Smith’s on Tuesday. The man, who is also a licensed Christian minister, told police he and Smith sat in his car in the parking lot of a coffee shop.
During the conversation, Smith told the man his life was in chaos. He stated that he was over his head “with Love Thai and her mental issues,” the documents state.
The man told investigators that “he was sure Alan Smith knew he was acting as a supportive friend and not as any kind of a private or privileged conversation regarding his confession to him.”
He told Smith he could help him and the two took a walk. He asked Smith if he had anything to do with his wife’s murder and he responded, “Yes, I did it to her” and began to cry uncontrollably, according to court documents. Smith continued, saying “… And by the way, I respect what you do with that information, cause at this point, I’m walking off the ledge, I’m walking off the ledge.”
The man later baptized Smith in Puget Sound near Alki Beach in Seattle. When the man left Smith he thought he was going to turn himself in, the documents continue.
The man also stated that he met Smith and his girlfriend Love Thai during a church potluck. He told investigators that he was aware Alan Smith was a person of interest in the homicide investigation of his wife. The man mentioned he is very spiritually committed and felt the need to get to know Alan Smith and his story.
Thai recently told media that she is pregnant with Alan Smith’s baby.
“Detectives learn from a friend of Love Thai’s that she and Alan Smith were considering, ‘getting out of this country’ and going to South America to avoid the police,” the documents continue.
Detectives also lay out new evidence against Smith in court documents. The Washington State Patrol Crime Lab determined that Alan Smith’s left foot was the same size and shape as the print left in blood at the crime scene. A forensic expert in footprints stated in documents, “It is my opinion that there is support of the proposition that this impression could have been made by the right foot of Alan Smith.”
Investigators found a credit card statement belonging to Alan Smith for a bicycle purchase in November. Alan Smith told investigators that he did own a bicycle but that is was stolen in October. During the time of the purchase, a rare bicycle light was listed as well on the receipt. A bicycle matching the one purchased with Alan Smith’s credit card was located in a greenbelt near the Bothell apartment complex in which Alan Smith was living at the time of the murder. But forensic tests on the bike yielded no DNA or blood evidence.
Detectives are still analyzing surveillance footage from the area at the time of the murder.
Surveillance footage taken from a Wal-Mart in Everett near Alan Smith’s work on the day that detectives found Susann Smith’s body shows him purchasing a gas can, latex gloves and a pair of sandals. An analyzation of Alan Smith’s GPS showed him then traveling within two blocks of the home, to a gas station and then back to work. Smith never told investigators of the drive later that day when questioned. Alan Smith also had a bank receipt for a withdrawal of $1,500 and searches for flights out of Sea-Tac Airport from his work computer that same day.
“Detectives suspect this stop would have provided Alan Smith the opportunity to discard the sandals and one pair of latex gloves in the Wal-Mart plastic bag,” the documents continue.
Smith was also found to have searches on his iPad and cell phone for transit to the airport the day after his wife was found dead and other searches pertaining to DNA testing.
Court documents also state that Smith was drown in the bathtub after suffering 19 separate blunt force wounds along with sharp force wounds in the face and head and a fractured skull.
The medical examiner determined that “the cause of death was blunt force and sharp force trauma with a third component of asphyxiation by drowning.”
Smith was found to have purchased a rubber mallet. The Snohomish County Medical examiner said “it was conceivable the blunt force injuries on Susann Smith could have been caused by this type of rubber mallet.”
The Washington State Patrol Forensic Crime Lab concluded that the mallet could have incurred the injuries to Susann Smith, but that “any tool that will leave similar circular marks could have possibly made these injuries.”
The beating of Susann Smith was so violent that police reportedly observed blood splatters on the ceiling, walls and window of the bedroom. The victim had to be identified by her dental records.
Officers found bloody footprints in the hallway and kitchen areas of the home and the front door was closed but unlocked when they arrived at the home. Smith was found face down in the bathtub, which was full of water. She was also naked from the waste down but officers found no sign of a sexual attack.