Victims’ family, prosecutors fight serial killer’s parole
By SARAH SUTSCHEK
“We were just sitting there in my car, talking,” he said. “I reached over and strangled her with my hands, right in her seat, until she was unconscious.”
On Wednesday, members of Lingenfelter’s family gave statements to the Illinois Prisoner Review Board in an effort to prevent Smith, McHenry’s infamous serial killer, from going free.
Smith, who pleaded guilty to avoid the death penalty, has been incarcerated for 41 years and currently is at Pontiac Correctional Center. He was sentenced to 500 years, but is eligible for parole every three years, and received no votes for release in 2005 or 2008.
Also present were friends and family of Jean Bianchi, a 27-year-old mother whose children were 22 months and 5 years old when Smith brutally murdered her. Bianchi was killed Jan. 27, 1970, and Lingenfelter four months later to the day. Both women were from McHenry.
Bianchi was last seen at a Laundromat, her body found partially submerged in a stream under a bridge three days later. Lingenfelter was seen getting into Smith’s vehicle, and her body was found the next day.
McHenry County State’s Attorney Louis Bianchi, who is of no relation to the victim, and Phil Hiscock, chief of the criminal division, also attended to speak out against Smith’s release.
Hiscock said the victims’ family members have called the murders a neverending nightmare and their own life sentence.
“He deserves to be in prison for the rest of his life,” Hiscock said. “We will always be objecting to his release.”
Smith also admitted to murdering at least 10 other women, including eight in 1969 while he was serving in the Army and stationed in Germany.
On Dec. 2, 1969, he attacked Obie Fay Ash after she entered the TV store where he was working in Arkansas.
Then, in between Bianchi and Lingenfelter’s murders, he also killed Janice Bolyard on Feb. 27, 1970. Smith had worked with her at De Soto Chemical Plant for about a month when he followed her into a basement, Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney Gina M. Savini said.
When Bolyard resisted his advances, Smith knocked her unconscious and raped her, eventually strangling her with her own pantyhose.
Savini said Smith then wiped his fingerprints from a light switch and door, found Bolyard’s broken shoe heel and put it by her body, and then went on with business as usual, including taking a call from his wife.
The break in the case came after Smith was arrested in McHenry County, Savini said, and he subsequently confessed.
In addition to the sentence for the murders, he also picked up an additional 18 years for trying to escape from prison.
Smith will not conform and cannot abide by society’s laws, Savini said.
“I would describe him as an arrogant egomaniac,” she said.
Even if he is released from Illinois – which Savini said she is confident will not happen – there is a warrant for his arrest in Arkansas.
“Arkansas will be waiting with open arms to secure him for the rest of his life,” she said.
Why do they even let him have a hearing? If his sentence is for 500 years there should be a minimum and there should be no chance for parole (even for a hearing) during that time.