They say if you live by the sword, you die by the sword. But a metaphorical expression is certainly the last phrase that the grieving family of Steven Roger Smith, Jr. wants to hear. They held his funeral service on Wednesday November 10th, 2010.
Smith had been incarcerated since 2007. He was serving an 18-year sentence for manslaughter and tampering with evidence which also included a gun specification. Rumors resurfaced at Smith's funeral that he was wrongly convicted of the murder.
Smith was found dead on Halloween Day. The preliminary ruling of his death is suicide according to Warren Correctional Institution's public information officer, Julia Walburn.
Walburn stated that the incident is still under investigation by the institution and Ohio Safety Highway patrol.
Bradley Shaw from OSHP Public Affairs Unit provided an Initial Incident Report that states "The victim inmate was found hanging from a bed sheet that was tied to his cell window railing."
Found hanging - took his own life - is what family and friends of Smith were told by prison officials. Later they would learn the horrifying news from inmates who were incarcerated with Smith, and staffers who did not want to be identified, that Smith was murdered.
Allegedly, Smith (African American), was in the institution's kitchen engaged in a sex act with a correctional officer (Caucasian), to whom he'd been involved in a relationship. Another source claims that he was not involved with the staffer, and that he was masturbating in front of her. Source claims that Smith had several disciplinary write-ups for masturbating in front of female staffers.
As punishment, Smith was placed in the hole and allegedly his meal was sprayed with pepper spray.
Sources state that the correctional officer's boyfriend (also correctional officer), became angry after learning about the incident in the kitchen. They say the correctional officer with the assistance of others attacked Smith, hanged him, then planted a bible with pictures of Smith’s loved ones to make it look like a suicide.
If you live by the sword...
Members of Miami Baptist church were Smith was a member didn't know the Steven that lived by the sword. Many of them spoke fondly of him. They remembered a polite young man that taught Sunday school, was a member of the choir, and praise danced. A former Choir Director at the church, sang a soul stirring song, that she originally performed at Smith's private high school graduation ceremony that took place at the church.
Smith may have been laid to rest, but the family and friends of Smith won't rest until they have answers. ..Source.. Franki Butler-Kidd