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Evan David SMYTH





Classification: Spree killer
Characteristics: Drugs - Carey's body has never been found
Number of victims: 4
Date of murders: September 17-18, 2003
Date of arrest: September 19, 2003
Date of birth: 1963
Victims profile: Tristan Offiah, 21 / Phillip Walker, 20 / Shauntise Gill, 17 / His girlfriend, Kay Carey, 42
Method of murder: Shooting / Stabbing with knife / Strangulation
Location: Montgomery County, Maryland, USA
Status: Sentenced to life in prison without parole on November 3, 2004

Life in Prison for Serial Killer in Wheaton

November 4, 2004

A man who pleaded guilty to killing four people will spend his life in prison. Forty-one-year-old Evan Smyth of Silver Spring received live without parole Thursday for a string of killings in September 2003.

Smyth pleaded guilty in April to the murders of his girlfriend, Kay Carey, as well as 20-year-old Phillip Walker, 17-year-old Shauntise Gill and 21-year-old Tristan Offiah. All four victims were killed in the Wheaton area in September 2003.

Carey's body has never been found. Prosecutors say DNA from her brain and skull were found in Smyth's house. Gill's body was also found in Smyth's home. He had been beaten and strangled.

Walker's body was found in the trunk of his car. Offiah's body was found in a car on Sept. 17. Prosecutors say Smyth killed him after stealing drugs.


While Hurricane Isabel Raged, So Did a Killer in Montgomery

By David Snyder. Washington Post Staff Writer.

Friday, April 30, 2004

The victim, 21-year-old Tristan Offiah, was dead in a car in Wheaton, a shotgun wound in his right side, the result of a drug deal gone bad, detectives figured.

His was the first corpse discovered by Montgomery County police in a grisly 36-hour stretch of late summer. Next was the body of Phillip Walker, 20, stabbed eight times and left in a car trunk in Wheaton. He had been dead for a week.

Shauntise Gill, 17, was found soon afterward, beaten and strangled with an electrical cord, her body on the floor of a house on a Wheaton cul-de-sac. A 12-gauge shotgun rested on a table nearby. And on a basement wall were blood and human tissue, identified later as having come from Kay Carey, 42, whose body is still missing.

It was mid-September. As Hurricane Isabel bore down on and then pummeled the Washington area, a spasm of violence extraordinary for Montgomery raged in the wind and rain, taxing a police force stretched thin coping with a natural disaster. As one victim after another turned up in Wheaton, officers mobilized to track down a killer -- and succeeded, as Isabel whipped and churned around them.

Evan David Smyth, 40, a plumber with a wife, two children and no previous criminal record, pleaded guilty in Montgomery Circuit Court yesterday to four charges of first-degree murder. Dressed in a green jail jumpsuit, his dark hair in a ponytail, Smyth lifted his 6-foot, 200-pound frame from the defendant's chair and faced Judge Louise G. Scrivener. He said little, answering her queries in small words and a low tone.

"Yes, your honor. . . . No, your honor. . . . "

Smyth was acquainted with all his victims. But despite months of investigation, police said they were not able to definitively figure out what set him off. Although investigators say they can chart the sequence of the killings and the ugly details of each, they puzzle over the man, a rampaging murderer with no history of arrests.

"To have a single defendant tied to four murders allegedly committed in four very different ways over such a short period of time is unusual anywhere," said State's Attorney Douglas F. Gansler. "It's unprecedented in Montgomery County."

From court records and interviews with law enforcement officials and relatives and acquaintances of Smyth and his victims, a picture emerges of a man whose life was peaceful and unremarkable for nearly four decades, until he plummeted into drug-fueled violence.

He grew up in a well-appointed two-story house in a comfortable Wheaton neighborhood, with a brother and sister who finished college and moved away, starting families and pursuing careers. Smyth graduated from Wheaton High School in 1981, became a journeyman plumber and settled in Frederick County with his wife, Veronica Smyth.

With two children, they seemed to live happily, relatives said, until about three years ago, when Evan Smyth lost his job and his house, and the couple separated. They filed for bankruptcy in 2002. Smyth's parents have since learned that their son was heavily involved with drugs, they said in interviews yesterday.

"This confluence of difficulties in his life . . . this seemed to be the beginning of an unraveling," said his father, Donald Smyth, sitting with his wife, Jonnie, in their Wheaton home. "We're devastated our son has been convicted of these terrible drug-related crimes. We're devastated at the loss of four young men and women in these terrible crimes."

Approaching Storm

By the morning of Wednesday, Sept. 17, when Rosie Gill saw her daughter alive for the last time, news reports had been trumpeting Isabel for days, charting the hurricane's progress over the Atlantic as it grew to ferocious Category 5 status. Shauntise Gill, voluble and headstrong, had been urging her mother to stock bottled water, batteries and food.

She was asleep when Smyth arrived at the townhouse she shared with her mother in Olney. It was about 9:30 a.m., hot outside, the sky a brilliant blue.

The calm before the storm.

Rosie Gill thought Smyth looked haggard and thin as he stood at her front door.

"Haven't seen you in a while," she recalls telling Smyth.

"Been working hard, Ms. Gill," she remembers him saying. "Working hard."

"You look smaller," she remarked.

Thin, she meant. Almost skinny. And she meant "smaller" in another way. She said Smyth looked diminished, weary.

Shauntise Gill had quit high school two years earlier and was known to disappear for weeks on end. She sometimes ran with a rough crowd. But her mother and her sister, Latitia Gaines, had seen her start to come around in recent months. She was applying for jobs and talking about trying to obtain a high school equivalency diploma.

By the time she came downstairs that morning, Evan Smyth was seated at the kitchen table. The two had known each other for about three years. She called him "E."

They stepped out to the back yard to smoke. Rosie Gill watched as Smyth playfully chased her daughter around. The two were laughing, the mother recalls.

Then they left together.

" 'Bye, Mom," Rosie Gill recalls her daughter saying. "I'll see you later."

About three hours later, while her mother was out, Shauntise Gill telephoned the townhouse, apparently desperate for help. When Rosie Gill checked her messages later, she heard her daughter's recorded voice screaming: "Get off of me! . . . What the hell is wrong with you! . . . Get off!" Then the line went dead.

For the rest of the afternoon, unable to reach her daughter, Rosie Gill worried, then slept fitfully that night, she recalls. When she awoke Thursday, the sky was darkening.

Isabel was near, and her daughter was gone.

"Oh, Lord," she remembers thinking. "What has Shauntise gotten herself into now?"

The Mysterious 'E'

On Sept. 17, when Rosie Gill last saw her daughter alive, the investigation into the slaying of Tristan Offiah was underway. He had been found dead that morning at the wheel of his Ford Crown Victoria, a 12-gauge shotgun shell on the ground nearby.

Interviewing neighbors in an apartment complex not far from the scene, Detective Jim Drewry heard about a suspicious visitor who had been seen around the complex recently. Some residents knew him by a nickname, "E."

Offiah's cell phone showed that the last two calls he made were to a house on Arbor View Terrace in Wheaton. By cross-checking data stored in the phone, Drewry determined that the address was connected to someone listed in the phone's directory simply as "E."

So who was "E"?

The detective didn't know.

On Thursday, Sept. 18, as Rosie Gill woke up wondering where her daughter had gone, police got a call from Dressler Lane in Wheaton, reporting a foul odor coming from a car that had been parked there for several days.

When Detective Terry Ryan arrived, he found a bevy of officers clustered near the car and neighbors gathered around, many of them children home from school, awaiting the storm. Ryan, wearing a surgical mask dipped in cologne, peered into the trunk of the Chevy Cavalier, where Phillip Walker's body was badly decomposed.

At police headquarters in Rockville, Capt. Nancy Demme, head of the major crimes unit, considered the facts: two bodies in cars. From interviews, it appeared that Offiah and Walker had known each other. Were their slayings related?

How did Arbor View Terrace fit in? And who was "E"?

As Isabel's outer edge began whipping the region with wind gusts that Thursday, officers staked out the house on Arbor View, which seemed empty, though it probably wasn't. The officers left when their shift ended at 2:30 p.m. At 2:53 p.m., a 911 caller whispered to an operator, "Help me," then hung up. The call had come from the Arbor View house. Detectives rushed there and found the front door ajar.

Shauntise Gill's body was on the floor inside, and there was brain matter on a wall, suggesting another victim -- Kay Carey, DNA tests later showed. No one else was in the house.

The owners of the house, Donald and Jonnie Smyth, were vacationing in Colorado. Their son, Evan Smyth, separated from his wife, had been staying in the house.

Detectives figured he had to be "E." They searched for him Thursday afternoon and into the night as Isabel plowed across the region, with rain slanting in sheets and angry winds buffeting the officers' cars, which traveled empty roads.

Demme called police in Frederick County, asking for officers there to check out the Brunswick apartment where Smyth's estranged wife lived with their children. An officer spotted Smyth's green Ford Taurus parked outside the apartment. There was a smudge of light-colored paint on the bumper. While driving away from the scene of Offiah's slaying, Smyth's Taurus had nicked the dead man's car.

At 6:43 a.m. Friday, helmeted officers with assault weapons stormed into Veronica Smyth's small apartment. Although Evan Smyth had told his wife earlier that he had done "something terrible" that would land him to jail, he had offered no details, and she was unaware of the manhunt. Smyth was asleep on a couch as the officers rushed in.

"You're looking for me," he said. His wife and children were in other rooms. "They're not involved," he told the officers, who noticed blood on Smyth's boots.

Pleading Guilty ..Police said Smyth was involved in drug dealing with Offiah. Carey was Smyth's girlfriend. Walker was a friend of Carey's and was acquainted with Smyth.

All were slain, as was Gill.

"Why would he do this to her?" asked Gill's sister, Latitia Gaines. "What was the motive? What had she done? These are the questions I'll always have."

In court yesterday, Smyth's attorney, Paul DeWolfe, told Judge Scrivener that after killing Carey, Smyth wrapped her corpse in a blanket and tossed it in an outdoor trash bin. Investigators have been unable to find the body.

By pleading guilty to four counts of murder in a deal with prosecutors, Smyth avoided a trial that could have ended with a death sentence. Each count is punishable by a life term, and Scrivener has scheduled sentencing for Sept. 2.

The judge spoke evenly to Smyth yesterday.

"Are you pleading guilty to each and every count?" she asked.

"Yes, your honor," he replied, just loud enough to be heard.

She didn't ask him why he did it.

And he didn't say.


Silver Spring man pleads guilty to four murders

April 29, 2004

A Silver Spring man pleaded guilty on Thursday to four murders in the Wheaton area last September.

Evan David Smyth, 40, of the 12500 block of Arbor View Terrace in Wheaton, faces a maximum sentence of life without parole for each murder. Sentencing is scheduled for September. No motives for the killings were discussed in court on Thursday.

Police say the spree began Sept. 17 when Smyth and James Brandt, 26, of the 3500 block of Pear Tree Court in Silver Spring went to purchase drugs from Tristan Offiah, 21, of the 2700 block of Arcola Avenue. When Brandt pulled his car into a space next to Offiah's car, Smyth shot Offiah with a shotgun, according to a news release from the county State's Attorney's Office. Brandt has also been charged in connection with Offiah's killing.

The next day, police discovered the body of Phillip Walker, 20, of the 3600 block of Bel Pre Road in Silver Spring, in the trunk of his car, which was parked in the 2400 block of Dressler Lane in Silver Spring. An autopsy determined that Walker had been stabbed to death. A vehicle that Smyth was operating was seized and searched; Walker's identification and cell phone were found inside, according to a news release from the state's attorney's office.

That same day, police received a 911 call where the caller hung up after asking for help. Police came to Smyth's residence in the 12500 block of Arbor View Terrace and found Shauntise Gill, 17, dead in the basement. Gill, of the 3400 block of Queensborough Drive in Olney, had been beaten and strangled, and was last seen alive Sept. 17, when she left her residence with Smyth, according to the news release.

During the investigation, police found evidence of another murder inside the Arbor View Terrace house. Blood, brain tissue and skull fragments were found in the basement, adjacent to Smyth's bedroom, and personal items belonging to Smyth's girlfriend, Kay Carey, 42, were found along with shotgun shells. Carey was last heard from Sept. 15, when she spoke to her sister on the phone, according to the state's attorney's office. Her body has not been found.



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