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Landon Daniel MAY





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Robbery
Number of victims: 2
Date of murders: September 5, 2001
Date of arrest: Next day
Date of birth: July 4, 1982
Victims profile: Terry, 49, and Lucy Smith, 51
Method of murder: Stabbing with knife / Shooting
Location: Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on January 9, 2003

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
Eastern District

opinion J-100-2004

On Saturday, September 1, 2001, Landon May, along with Steven Estes, Raymond Navarro Perez, and Michael Bourgeois, drove to the home of Lloyd and Beverly Good in Lititz, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, intending to commit a burglary while the Good family was absent on vacation.

According to their plan, the perpetrators gained entrance through a side garage door and ransacked the home. They stole a 1996 green Chevrolet Suburban and a 1996 silver Saturn sedan, both of which had been parked in the garage.

They also stole a number of weapons: a .22 caliber revolver, a .32-20 caliber revolver, a Marlin 12 gauge bolt action shotgun, an Ithaca 12 gauge pump shotgun, a 30-06 Remington rifle, a Browning 300 Winchester Magnum rifle, two boxes of 300 shells, three boxes of 30-06 shells, two blocks of .22 shells, assorted hunting knives, a Jennings “Buckmaster” compound bow, a Jennings “Bear” bow, two 10-pump BB guns, and one one-pump BB gun. Cash and other assorted household and personal items were also stolen, including dishes and a taxidermist mounted fox.

The burglary was discovered by the family upon returning on Monday, September 3, 2001, at approximately 8:00 a.m. and was reported to police. That same day, the Lancaster City Police recovered the Chevrolet Suburban, which was being driven by Estes.

The next day, the Saturn was found abandoned on U.S. Route 222 in Manheim Township, Lancaster County. Also on that day, the residence was processed for latent fingerprints. Several prints were lifted, one of which matched fingerprints on file for Bourgeois.

On September 5, 2001, police made unsuccessful efforts to locate Bourgeois at the residence of his mother, Lucy Smith, and her husband, Terry Smith, in Ephrata. That evening the Smiths went to a home in Akron which was leased to Drenea Rodriguez, to visit Bourgeois, who had moved out of the Smith home approximately two months earlier to live with Rodriguez, with whom he was romantically involved. During their visit, the Smiths informed Bourgeois that the State Police were seeking his whereabouts.

On September 6, 2001, at approximately 10:00 a.m., the Ephrata Borough Police Department received a telephone call from an employee of Terry Smith. She advised the police that Terry Smith had not come to work during the morning hours that day, that she had not heard from him and that he usually reported to work in a reliable and consistent manner. She reported that Lucy Smith was also not at work as an elementary school principal, which was unusual.

Detective David Shupp and Officer Douglas Heilman responded to the Smith residence at approximately 10:30 a.m. and attempted to gain the attention of residents inside by knocking on the door and ringing the doorbell.

They found the front door locked, but discovered that the rear sliding door was unlocked. Detective Shupp then checked in with his office and learned that Bourgeois was the son of Lucy Smith, that his fingerprint had been discovered at the scene of the earlier burglary, and that firearms had been stolen from the house.

Detective Shupp then requested additional assistance and was joined by Detective Ballinger and Sergeant Kurtz of the Ephrata Borough Police Department, and Officer Diane Houston from the Ephrata Township Police Department.

At approximately 10:55 a.m., the officers entered the residence through the unlocked sliding door and did a quick sweep of the first floor, finding nothing unusual. Officer Heilman and Detective Shupp went upstairs and entered the master bedroom, where it was obvious that a struggle had taken place.

They observed blood spatters on the mattress and wall and what appeared to be a body wrapped in a comforter on the floor in a pool of blood. This body was later identified as Lucy Smith. She had been severely assaulted on the left side of her head and shot in the head.

Sergeant Kurtz located another body wrapped in bedding in a front bedroom, which was later identified as Terry Smith. This bedroom also showed signs of a struggle and Terry Smith had been stabbed repeatedly and shot multiple times in the head.

In the late morning hours of September 6, 2001, Corporal Raymond Guth of the Pennsylvania State Police and Detective Shupp went to the Rodriguez residence to interview Bourgeois regarding the Good burglary. Bourgeois admitted that he and Perez had committed the burglary. Bourgeois also stated that Perez had told him that the items taken from the burgled residence were stored at Perez’s residence on Plum Street in Lancaster City.

Bourgeois was subsequently arrested on the burglary charge. Detective Brad Ortenzi of the Ephrata Police Department and Detective Sergeant Edward Tobin of the Warwick Township Police Department remained at Rodriguez’s residence to interview her.

During that discussion, which took place on the front porch,  May came downstairs and Rodriguez introduced him to the detectives. May agreed to talk to the detectives after they finished their conversation with Rodriguez.

At about 3:30 p.m., the detectives began asking May about the whereabouts of Bourgeois over the days leading up to September 6, 2001. Upon request by Rodriguez, the detectives left the front porch and they asked May if he would accompany them to the police station. May agreed.

During the conversation at the police station, May admitted to the detectives that he was involved in the burglary. Near the end of the interview, the detectives informed May that Bourgeois’ parents, Terry and Lucy Smith, were found dead, and asked if May had any involvement in their deaths. In response, May said that he wanted to talk to an attorney. The interview was concluded and May was driven back to the Rodriguez home.

Approximately 50 minutes later, at 7:40 p.m. on September 6, 2001, Detectives Ortenzi and Tobin returned to the Rodriguez residence to arrest May for the burglary. The detectives were told that May could be found at his girlfriend’s residence. They then proceeded to 916 Main Street, Akron, and arrested May.

May was advised of his Miranda rights by Detective Tobin and was placed in the police cruiser. May then initiated a conversation with the detectives and expressed a willingness to answer questions. After arriving at the Ephrata Borough Police Station, May reviewed and signed a document confirming that he wanted to speak to the police, acknowledging that he had asked for an attorney several hours earlier, and confirming that he initiated a new discussion. May was then given Miranda warnings again, which he acknowledged in writing.

May then gave a statement to Detectives Ortenzi and Tobin in which he confessed to participation in the killings of Terry and Lucy Smith. May stated that he had worn rubber gloves to the Smith residence and that Bourgeois did not, and that he was wearing jeans and a tee shirt which he had subsequently placed in the Rodriguez house.

May also admitted to police that during the assaults on Terry and Lucy Smith, he went downstairs to get knives from the kitchen, and he used a knife to cut Lucy Smith’s throat and shot her once.

The police obtained a search warrant for the Rodriguez home later the same night and executed it immediately. The clothing worn by Bourgeois and May during the murders was found in a dark green plastic garbage bag in the laundry room along with three bloody knives, a bloody claw hammer, Terry Smith’s wallet, a purse with a cell phone, papers and cards belonging to Terry and Lucy Smith, a key ring, a roll of duct tape, five .22 caliber spent casings, a chocolate box full of personal items belonging to Terry and Lucy Smith including credit cards, and other items taken from the Smith residence. Money taken from the Smith home was found in a cigarette box in a gold watering can in the kitchen.

During the search, the police also observed in plain view items known to them to be stolen from the burglary, including the stuffed and mounted fox and a canvas bag with the family's name embroidered on one side. Sergeant Larry Martin of the East Cocalico Township Police Department searched the attic and found several of the weapons stolen from the residence, along with ammunition and hunting supplies.

The .22 caliber and .32 caliber revolvers used in the murder were not found during the search. After the officers left, Rodriguez enlisted the help of her two teenage daughters and two young men to remove the two firearms from the residence and to dispose of them.

On September 8, 2001, after a tip about suspicious activity by three juveniles, police recovered the .32 caliber Colt handgun from a dumpster located in Akron, approximately one-half mile from the Rodriguez residence. It had been wrapped in plastic wrap, placed inside a Pizza Hut bread sticks box, and taped shut with masking tape.

On September 26, 2001, Detective Shupp, with the cooperation of the two male juveniles recruited by Rodriguez, recovered the .22 caliber revolver which had been buried in a cornfield in Akron.

Autopsies of the bodies of Terry and Lucy Smith were performed on September 7, 2001, by Wayne Ross, M.D., the Lancaster County forensic pathologist. At trial, Dr. Ross testified that Terry Smith was stabbed 47 times, his neck was cut at least five times, he was shot “execution-style” five times, and he was strangled or asphyxiated. There were no defensive wounds on Terry Smith. The evidence established that Terry Smith was tortured before being killed.

During the autopsy of Lucy Smith, Dr. Ross obtained swabbings from her mouth, which were examined and found to contain semen matching a sample of May’s blood. Dr. Ross testified that Lucy Smith was cut 51 times, shot in the head, beaten on the left side of her head with a claw hammer, suffered blunt force trauma to her forehead, and was eventually smothered to death.

She also suffered defensive wounds to her hands and arms. The apparent reason for the torture was to obtain the PIN numbers to Terry Smith’s bank cards, which were stolen and later recovered at the Rodriguez residence.

Witnesses testified that the Smiths would be bound with duct tape, with the purpose of forcing them to relinquish their ATM card pin numbers, before being killed.

Other scientific testing indicated that the blood discovered on the latex gloves and the DNA on the pants and tee shirt May was wearing at the time of the murders, both confiscated from the Rodriguez residence, were Lucy Smith’s. Lucy Smith’s blood was also found on the 13-1/2” knife recovered from the Rodriguez home.

May’s left thumb print was on the back of Terry Smith’s Ephrata rec card, also recovered from the Rodriguez home. Additionally, the .22 caliber casings recovered from the Rodriguez home were traced to one of the firearms stolen from the Good residence. This evidence supports May’s first degree murder convictions.

The evidence was sufficient to permit the jury to conclude, beyond a reasonable doubt, that May intentionally, deliberately, and with premeditation participated in the murders of Terry and Lucy Smith.

These victims were unlawfully killed; May actively participated in the killings; and that active participation, combined with the fact that the victims were assaulted with deadly weapons on vital parts of their bodies, was sufficient to permit the jury to find that May harbored a specific intent to kill. Even if May did not inflict the specific injuries which caused each of the Smiths’ deaths, the evidence proved that he clearly shared that intent with his accomplice, Bourgeois.

Additional evidence of May’s specific intent to kill included the statements he made to police. There was also substantial evidence of premeditation and motive.

The jury deliberated only six hours before finding Landon May guilty of the grisly and premeditated murder of a elementary school principal and her husband. In September of 2001, May murdered Terry and Lucy Smith, in their townhouse in Ephrata, Pennsylvania.

At trial, police said May joked and was "carefree" and "loose." The judge referred to the torture murders as "unusually heinous and despicable" and said May was a "threat to the community" when he passed sentence.

May was also sentenced to 60 to 120 years for sexually assaulting Lucy Smith before killing the couple. The Smith's own son, Michael Bourgeois, pled guilty to two counts of first-degree murder for killing his parents. "I'm extremely sorry for what I've done," he said.


Judge rejects Landon May's 'genetic' claim

By Janet Kelley - Lancaster New Era

Jul 17, 2003

Landon May's criminal family history was irrelevant to the fact he killed an Ephrata couple, a Lancaster judge ruled today, rejecting the young man's appeal and upholding his murder conviction.

Judge Lawrence F. Stengel responded in detail to each of May's complaints, concluding in a 52-page opinion that every step of May's case -- from his initial discussions with police to the final imposition of the death penalty -- was handled legally and fairly.

May, 21, of Narvon, was convicted of killing Lucy and Terry Smith in their Ephrata townhouse in September 2001. He was also convicted of sexually assaulting Mrs. Smith before she died, plus a number of other crimes.

When May was sentenced to death, he made history by joining his father, Freeman May, 55, on death row -- the first father and son to be sentenced to death for separate murders in Pennsylvania.

In his post-conviction appeal, May's new defense attorney, Christopher Lyden, raised numerous issues, including that Stengel was wrong to exclude the testimony of a defense-hired psychiatrist, Dr. Neil Blumberg.

The psychiatrist concluded Landon May was genetically predisposed to commit criminal acts. He came to the conclusion after reviewing Freeman May's convictions for murder and sexual assault, and the case of Sidney May -- Freeman's father and Landon's grandfather -- who was convicted of sexually assaulting his daughters.

But Stengel noted that during the trial, he and attorneys for both sides agreed that Blumberg's testimony was irrelevant because May had never met his grandfather, and he was 6 months old when his father, Freeman, was imprisoned.

"Dr. Blumberg's attempt to relate Landon May's actions to his family history was speculative at best and would have been misleading and distracting to the jury,'' Stengel wrote.

Stengel also rejected Lyden's points that the pictures of the murder scene were too graphic to be shown to the jury and that the prosecution gave credibility to other convicted criminals who testified against May.

"In this case, the evidence against May was overwhelming. May admitted to actively participating in the double murder in a signed statement to police. Specifically, he admitted to cutting the throats of Lucy and Terry Smith. Additionally, May's semen was found in Lucy Smith's mouth,'' Stengel wrote.

"Any "error' in reference to the testimony or credibility of (Steven) Estes or Navarro Perez was harmless,'' the judge wrote.

As for the pictures, Stengel added: "Without these photographs, it would have been impossible for the jury to grasp fully the severity of the wounds inflicted upon these two people.''

Lyden's attorney argued that May's confession to police should never have been entered into evidence.

Stengel noted that detectives repeatedly explained to May, "in a complete, clear and legally sufficient manner,'' his legal rights.

In fact, when police transcribed the statement into writing and May read it, Stengel wrote, "May noted that he left something out and several sentences were added in handwriting. May also corrected one grammatical error and then signed the statement.''

May received the death penalty, in part, because of the sexual assault on Mrs. Smith, a 51-year-old elementary school principal. Terry Smith, 49, was president of a small manufacturing company.

Michael Bourgeois -- Mrs. Smith's son and May's co-defendant -- received a sentence of life in prison for participating in the murder, as did the so-called mastermind of the murder plot, Drenea Rodriguez.

Prosecutors said Rodriguez feared the Smiths would separate her from Bourgeois, her 18-year-old live-in lover.

May is being housed at Graterford, the state's largest, maximum-security prison facility, which is 31 miles northwest of Philadelphia.

Pennsylvania houses its death-row inmates in two facilities, Graterford and Greene, in southwestern Pennsylvania. May's father is being held at Greene.

Landon May's case has only just started the appellate process. Death penalty cases are reviewed for years, and the case of his father, who was convicted in 1989, is still in the appeal process.

In addition, Landon May still faces a charge in Lancaster County Court in connection with the shooting of a bicyclist near Fivepointville.

As police investigated the Smith murder, they learned that May and his cohorts allegedly were involved in a series of unrelated crimes, including the attempted robbery//shooting of the bicyclist.

One of May's friends, Steven Estes, 20, admitted to participating in the bicyclist's shooting, but said he was driving the truck and May shot the man. May told police it was Estes who shot the man.

Estes is expected to testify against May when the shooting incident case goes to trial this fall.



Did killer's 'bad blood' make him do it?

By Janet Kelley - Lancaster New Era

Jun 25, 2003

The jurors knew Landon May's father was on Pennsylvania's death row when they sentenced him to die. They knew his grandfather had a criminal record, too. But if they had heard the gruesome details of the family's crimes, would they have sentenced him to life in prison instead of the death penalty? Because, as he sees it, he has been cursed with "bad blood.''

If they had known both his father and grandfather had convictions for sexually assaulting women, would they believe this young man was "genetically predisposed'' to commit crime?

May, 20, was convicted last fall in Lancaster County Court of the brutal murder of an Ephrata couple, Lucy and Terry Smith, in September 2001 and sentenced to death.

With that verdict, the May family of Narvon made history, becoming the first father and son on Pennsylvania's death row.

Under state law, death penalty cases undergo a thorough review process, first by the Lancaster County judge who presided over the trial, then to the Pennsylvania Superior and Supreme courts.

May's new defense attorney, Christopher Lyden, has raised a number of issues in this first round of appeals, including the testimony about May's lineage.

Landon's father, Freeman May, 55, is currently on death row for murdering a Lancaster woman in September 1982 and dumping her body in the same area where he tried to kill two teenage girls in December 1982, raping one of them.

His grandfather, Sydney May Jr., now dead, served time in prison for sexually assaulting his own daughters, which family members have said is just one aspect of his abusive history.

The District Attorney's office has refuted all of the issues raised by the defense attorney, noting that all the family history is irrelevant since Freeman May's been in jail since Landon was 6 months old.

Even though Judge Lawrence F. Stengel has yet to rule on the appeal, he ruled in favor of the prosecution when many of the same issues were raised during the trial and penalty phase.

The defense attorney wrote that Dr. Neil Blumberg, a forensic psychiatrist hired to evaluate the defendant, concluded the youngest May was "genetically predisposed'' to mental health problems.

May's "behavior and emotional condition deteriorated dramatically after his stepfather told him...his biological father was incarcerated and on death row,'' Blumberg testified during trial, and May often expressed concern about having "bad blood.''

"Detailed information about Freeman May was critical to demonstrating (his son's) genetic predisposition for poor mental health,'' Lyden wrote in the appeal, and how the younger May's mental state "was impacted by knowledge of his father's past.''

All the appeal issues raised by the defense were resolved during the trial, Assistant District Attorney Kelly Sekula wrote in the prosecution's response.

"Amidst a mountain of other evidence,'' Sekula noted that one of the witnesses "testified that a day or two prior to the murders, (May) showed her one of the guns and told her, in an excited fashion, that he was going to kill the victims.''

Afterward, Sekula continued, May admitted to police he participated in the double murder, "including cutting both victims' throats.''

In addition, May's "semen was found in the mouth of Lucy Smith,'' Sukula wrote, proving the victim was sexually assaulted while she was being murdered.

It was the sexual assault of Mrs. Smith, while she and her husband were being tortured and murdered, that prosecutors claimed as an aggravated circumstance in seeking the death penalty.

The death penalty can be imposed in Pennsylvania if the jury, or judge, decides the aggravating circumstances (anything that makes the crime more heinous) outweigh any mitigating circumstances.

Defense attorneys cited May's age, lack of criminal record and mental health issues as mitigating circumstances.

Investigators learned that May really had little reason to be involved in killing the Smiths, other than he was one of several teenagers living in the Akron home of Drenea Rodriguez, using drugs and alcohol.

It was Rodriguez, 35, who police said masterminded the murder because the Smiths objected to her live-in sexual relationship with Mrs. Smith's 18-year-old son, Michael Bourgeois.

Police said May and Bourgeois broke into the home at 210 Sand Court, awoke Mrs. Smith, 51, an elementary school principal, and her 49-year-old husband, the president of a small manufacturing company, bound them with duct tape, beat them, shot and stabbed them to death.

Bourgeois and Rodriguez have both been sentenced to life in prison.



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