Albany killer dies in prison - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Albany killer dies in prison

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April 18, 2003

Albany-- An Albany convicted killer dies in prison.

Dougherty County District Attorney Ken Hodges says, "It is ironic that he has died." The family of the woman he killed wants to see his body.

In July 1989, Sherry Lynn Pollard was strangled and raped while working at the Motel Six in East Albany. Her killer, Bobby Lee Smith, was tried and sentenced to three life terms in prison. Now after serving six years of that sentence at Augusta State Prison, he has died at the age of 42.

In March 1997, Bobby Lee Smith was given three life sentences plus 76 years for killing and raping 20-year-old Sherry Lynn Pollard at this motel. He only served six years of that sentence. D.A. Ken Hodges says, "That case languished here in Dougherty County for seven and a half years before going to trial first case I took after being elected in 1997."

When District Attorney Ken Hodges took office in January 1997 there were seven death penalty cases on the books--Smith's case was the oldest, "Originally it was a death penalty case, but Smith's IQ tests were in the borderline retarded area"

State experts tested Smith's IQ into the high 60's and low 70's--70 is the demarcation line, "It was an absolutely brutal and heinous crime that absolutely deserved the death penalty but because of all the mental issues and how long it had been sitting we did, with agreement of the family, withdraw the death notice."

The jury had the option of finding Smith guilty but mentally retarded--but they didn't do that. Hodges believes had Smith been sentenced to death seven years ago, he still would never have faced execution, "It's my opinion that had he been healthier and had we sought the death penalty he would probably still be alive today. So it's ironic we did not seek the death penalty and he is now deceased." Bobby Lee Smith will be buried in Albany tomorrow.

Sherry Lynn Pollard's mother has asked to view Smith's body, to see with her own eyes that her daughter's killer is dead.

Posted at 3:54 p.m. by melissa.kill@walb.com