Palmer Smith In Jail After State Supreme Court Upholds Conviction

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Palmer Smith In Jail After State Supreme Court Upholds Conviction

CREATED Jun 20, 2014
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – Palmer Smith has been booked into the Rutherford County jail after the Tennessee Supreme Court upheld his conviction. Smith was convicted of fabricating evidence and lying to police in connection with the 2007 disappearance of his wife. Appeals had kept him out of jail for four years.

The 78-year-old was taken into custody Thursday morning after the ruling was handed down.

"He's going straight to his cell. He's got approximately nine months he needs to serve here at the sheriff's office," said Rutherford County Sheriff Robert Arnold.

In May 2010, a Rutherford County jury convicted Smith of two counts of fabricating evidence and six counts of making a false report in connection to his wife Marcie's disappearance in December 2007. However, he did not immediately report for his one-year sentence as he waited for appeals in his case to be heard.

In a unanimous decision issued Thursday, the state Supreme Court dismissed four of the six counts of making a false report against Smith, but upheld two of them along with the two counts of fabricating evidence. They also upheld the sentence of one year in jail and six years of probation.

After Marcie disappeared, police discovered video of a man parking her SUV in a Walmart parking lot, and then riding away on a bike. Police believed the man on the video is Smith, and he reported her missing after that.

The trial court later dismissed Smith’s convictions for fabricating evidence, but the Court of Criminal Appeals reinstated those on appeal. However, the Appellate Court dismissed two of the six convictions for making a false report.

Both Smith and the state appealed to the Tennessee Supreme Court, who heard the case in October 2013.

In Thursday’s ruling, the High court said that the four counts of making a false report that were dismissed were redundant and violated the double jeopardy clause of the U.S. and Tennessee Constitutions. The court also said they upheld the fabricating evidence convictions because it was determined that he knew an investigation was impending when he parked his wife’s SUV in the parking lot with plans to later report her disappearance.

Police have long considered the Smith the prime suspect in Marcie's disappearance, but without a body they were never able to charge him with murder.

"Shallow as it is there is satisfaction that he's being held accountable for what he did, but at the same time we believe he knows more than he's told us," said prosecutor Trevor Lynch.

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