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Victim’s relative alleges Smith had violent past

Nov. 08, 2013 @ 12:39 AM

HUNTINGTON — Prosecutors called upon Constance Smith’s half-sister Thursday morning in an attempt to paint murder defendant Harry Lee Smith as a husband with a history of threatening his wife.
Constance Smith, 62, died July 30, 2011, at the couple’s home in the 6100 block of Birkewood Road near East Pea Ridge.
Harry Smith, 69, has long argued the shooting was an accident, while prosecutors contend it was intentional. Smith’s trial is scheduled to resume Friday morning before Cabell Circuit Judge Alfred Ferguson.
The half-sister, Monica McMillion, testified the victim had previously complained about a drunken Harry Smith holding her at gunpoint in the couple’s home.
“I was frightened,” she testified. “I was distraught. I just couldn’t believe that anybody could do something like that.”
But neither McMillion nor Constance Smith contacted authorities, and, despite McMillion’s memory of the conversation, she could not recall when it occurred only saying it might have been a year prior to the deadly shooting.
“It had to be a pretty day, but I couldn’t tell you if it was April or November,” she testified.
That was just one of several memory lapses seized upon by defense attorney David Lockwood. He repeatedly questioned McMillion about furniture moved to her house, along with a phone bill mailed to McMillion’s addresses despite it bearing her half-sister’s name and number.
McMillion could not recall either event, just as she could not remember having any follow-up conversation about her half-sister’s threatening encounter with the defendant.
Prior to Lockwood’s cross-examination, Ferguson cautioned jurors with an instruction that McMillion’s testimony of prior, alleged misdeeds could not be used as proof that he committed the charged offense, but could be considered only for the purpose of determining whether the prosecution established intent or the absence of accident.
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