Remember the murder of George Smith Jr. of Surfside Beach two years ago?
It looks like his widow, who's accused of hiring a guy to kill him, has jumped bail.
George Smith Jr. was one of Surfside's more colorful characters -- a guy who raised hell at town meetings, once ran a burger joint on the beach and sometimes talked about aliens that visited his place of business.
After he was found beaten to death on the beach, the papers described him as a "Maverick Millionaire," though his daughter said that description of his financial status was ridiculously incorrect.
Smith's wife, 50-year-old Margaret Lorraine Smith, is scheduled to go on trial Monday for the killing, but nobody's seen here since Monday, according to a story in the Friday edition of The Facts that was written by John Tompkins.
The man she is accused of hiring already has been convicted and sent to prison for life.
Left holding the bag now that Mrs. Smith has absconded is a woman with the unfortunate name of Beatrece McFatter, who posted the $125,000 surety bond under which the accused murderess was released. Ms. McFatter didn't sound too upset that Mrs. Smith is gone, judging from the tone of the newspaper story, but we admit that could be misleading. Ms. McFatter just said that Mrs. Smith hadn't given her a bit of trouble -- til now.
Mrs. Smith was wearing one of those ankle monitoring devices but it wasn't equipped with GPS capability.
The Facts story says:
Adult Probation Director Caroline Rickaway said GPS monitoring was requested for Lorrain Smith when she posted bond.
“We just did not have that in place,” Rickaway said. “We were in the process of reviewing vendors at that time.”
The electronic monitoring Lorrain Smith had was checked on a daily basis, Rickaway said.
So why didn't they provide the defendant with a GPS monitoring device after the county reviewed vendor bids? Mrs. Smith was released in October 2007, presumably long enough to get through the vendor process, we'd say. But we suppose those ankle devices are easily enough removed if someone wants to disappear, so maybe it's not that big a deal.
But then there's also this question: Mrs. Smith was last known to be in Brazoria County on Monday, but no arrest warrant was issued until Wednesday?
Did somebody screw up?