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Death Row Inmate Found Dead at San Quentin

8-30-2010 California:

A death row inmate at San Quentin apparently committed suicide this weekend.

George Smithey, 70, was found hanging in his cell early Saturday morning, according to prison officials.

Smithey was put on California's death row in the summer of 1989 for the murder and attempted rape of Cheryl Anne Nesler. Nesler was killed April 18, 1988 in the tiny Calaveras County town of Glencoe. Her lifeless body was found by her then six year old daughter.

More than 20 years after that conviction, Smithey's appeals were still very active.

The Union Democrat reported earlier this month that a doctor recently determined that Smithey was mentally incompetent. That finding made it possible that his death sentence would be reversed.

The paper said a neuropsychologist hired by the Calaveras District Attorney’s Office examined Smithey at San Quentin in late July and determined he was "mentally retarded."

A 2002 U.S. Supreme Court decision forbids the execution of mentally incompetent individuals. Smithey's case was being watched by several death row inmates who claim they are mentally incompetent.

His death is now being investigated as a suicide, police said. ..Source.. by LORI PREUITT


George Smithey, death row inmate, hangs himself days after judge spares him from execution

8-31-2010 California:

A judge spared a convicted murderer from death row, but the inmate decided to end his life anyway.

George Smithey, a 70-year-old convict at San Quentin, hanged himself with a noose made of bed sheets in his cell over the weekend.

Prison spokesman Lt. Sam Robinson said Smithey should have been moved from San Quentin once his sentenced was reduced.

"He wasn't moved as of yet because we hadn't received those sentencing documents. So he was still on death row," Robinson told the San Jose Mercury News. ..Source.. by SEAN ALFANO

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