Real Name: David Gordon Smith
Aliases: None Known
Wanted For: Murder
Missing Since: October 28, 1985
Details: Twenty-five-year-old David Gordon Smith and another man robbed a driver's licensing station at 8 am on September 1, 1978 in Catoosa, Oklahoma. Police chief J.B. Hamby, the only officer in town, responded to the robbery. After arriving at the station, he was met with gunfire. A shootout began between J.B. and the two robbers. During this, one robber was killed and Smith was injured. Amazingly, neither women in the store were injured. However, J.B. was gravely injured by one of the robber's bullets. After Smith left the scene, J.B. went to a laundromat next door to get help. He would later die from his wounds.
Two hours after the shooting, Smith was arrested at a local hospital while he was being treated for his wounds. He was charged, tried and convicted of J.B. Hamby's murder after it was determined through ballistics tests that his gun was the one that killed J.B. Hamby.
In June of 1979, he began serving a life sentence. While in prison, he became a model prisoner. He was well-liked by both the prison staff and the other inmates. He gained trustee status in the prison and eventually began living in a house on the prison grounds. Also, on June 26, 1982, he was allowed to get married. In 1984, Smith was granted a parole hearing, claiming that he was a model prisoner and would be a model citizen. However, he was denied parole, thanks to a public outcry.
For another year, he remained a model prisoner. Then, on October 28, 1985, a prison guard discovered that Smith was missing. Authorities believe that Smith was picked up by his wife, Jo Beth, and the two vanished together. It was discovered that a week before the escape, she had closed her bank account, sold her furniture, and borrowed $1,000 from friends.
In February of 1986, Smith and his wife were spotted at a gas station in Arkansas, but the two once again disappeared and have not been seen since.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the October 7, 1992 episode.
Results: Captured. After the case was re-aired in March 1993, David Gordon Smith was arrested. An anonymous tipster told authorities that Smith was working as a service manager at a automobile dealership in Spearfish, South Dakota, and using the name Gary Johnson. After his arrest, he readily admitted his true identity. His wife Jo Beth was also located unharmed. He was returned to a maximum security prison in Oklahoma and convicted of escape charges. He received an addition four years for the escape charges. He was denied parole in 2008.
Smith's wife Jo Beth passed away in 2003.
- TV Show to Re-enact Killer's Crime, Escape
- (1995 LA Times Article) A Good Guy--or Bad Guy Gone Good?
- Brothers fight to keep convict behind bars
- J.B Hamby at Find a Grave