The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

March 27, 2013

Franklin Co. man indicted 33 years after slaying

— RUSSELLVILLE, Ala. (AP) — Felicia Graham's voiced cracked with emotion as she talked about the telephone call.

Franklin County sheriff's investigator Jason Holcombe called Tuesday to tell Graham that John Donald Smith, of Russellville, has been indicted for murder in connection with the Feb. 16, 1980, death of her husband, Larry Graham.

"All I could think of was 'Thank God.' I have been waiting 33 years to hear what I heard," Graham said.

Larry Graham was 28 and lived in Russellville when he was killed, authorities said.

Franklin County Sheriff Shannon Oliver said the murder indictment against Smith was issued during the recent grand jury session. He said his department reopened the case more than a year ago.

Investigators said Graham was killed during a fight with Melvin Rickard at a residence on Alabama 13 in the Spruce Pine community, south of Russellville.

The house where the fight took place was the residence of a friend of Graham's. Oliver said it still is unclear exactly what started the argument.

During the fight, Graham's throat was cut and he died at the scene, Oliver said.

Smith and Rickard both left the residence, according to reports. Oliver said Rickard, who was in the fight with Graham, was the original suspect, but there never was enough evidence to get an arrest warrant or present the case to the grand jury.

Investigators said Rickard died about 10 years ago.

"Graham's family came to us with some new information they had heard about on Feb. 13, 2012," Oliver said.

The new information, according to reports, was that during the fight, Smith had been the one who cut Graham's throat.

"The new information was that (Smith) came up from behind Graham and cut his throat," Oliver said.

He said the case was assigned to Holcombe and reopened.

Text Only
Local News
Photos


Poll

Do you believe America will ever make another manned flight to the moon or another planet?

Yes
No
     View Results
Facebook
AP Video
Raw: Families Travel to Taiwan Plane Crash Site Arizona Execution Takes Almost Two Hours Gen. Odierno Discusses Ukraine, NATO at Forum Gaza Fighting Rages Amid Cease-Fire Efforts Mint Gives JFK Coin a Face-lift Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers Ariz. Inmate Dies 2 Hours After Execution Began Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record LeBron James Sends Apology Treat to Neighbors Raw: Funeral for Man Who Died in NYPD Custody Migrants Back in Honduras After US Deports Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return Raw: ISS Cargo Ship Launches in Kazakhstan Six Indicted in StubHub Hacking Scheme Former NTSB Official: FAA Ban 'prudent' EPA Gets Hip With Kardashian Tweet Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in the Netherlands Biden Decries Voting Restrictions in NAACP Talk Broncos Owner Steps Down Due to Alzheimer's US, UN Push Shuttle Diplomacy in Mideast
Twitter Updates
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Business Marquee