Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Louisa, VA (SafeCITY) - Forrest M. Smythers Jr., a 54-year-old Virginia man was sentenced to life in prison after he shot his wife in the head in a dispute over Christmas lights.

Louisa Circuit Court judge, Timothy K. Sanner, sentenced Smythers to life in prison plus 8 years after Smythers pleaded guilty to first-degree murder charges in the Jan. 11, 2009 slaying of his wife.

According to prosecutors, Smythers shot his wife, Dawn Smythers, between the eyes using a .22 caliber rifle. He then reportedly called his father and stated that he was contemplating suicide because he had just shot his wife dead.

Authorities found the woman's body on a sofa in the couple's living room. Forrest was found seated in a rocking chair - still holding the rifle he used to murder his wife.

Investigators say the incident began as an argument over Christmas lights. Forrest Smythers told police he wanted to take down the home's Christmas light display, but his wife opposed the idea.

During court testimony, however, Smythers told the court the shooting occurred after his wife struck him in the head with a miniature statue of an angel. He claimed the gun accidentally went off when his wife attempted to grab the rifle away from him.

The jury didn't buy it.

Smythers was sentenced to life in prison-plus 3 years for the murder charge. An additional jail term of 5 years was added because Smythers was a felon in possession of a firearm.

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