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Suspect’s Lawyer Claims FBI Not Involved in US Family Murder Case

By Tea Mariamidze
Wednesday, August 1
Alexander Kobaidze, a lawyer of 19-year-old shepherd Malkhaz Kobauri, who was detained on murder charges of the American couple Ryan and Lora Smiths and their 4-year-old child, Caleb, says the information that the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is assisting Georgian side is false.

At the press conference on July 31, the lawyer criticized the Prosecutor's Office approach to the case saying that they are unprofessional and the investigation is going “completely wrong.”

Kobaidze claims the Prosecutor's Office did not interrogate all the people in Khada Gorge, Dusheti Municipality, where the murder was committed, saying his defendant is not guilty.

“The Prosecutor's Office is not trying to investigate this case fully and objectively. As for the reports of FBI involvement in the case, there has been no confirmation of this by anyone including the Prosecutor’s office,” he added.

The lawyer says they will request an alternative autopsy of the bodies, claiming his defendant says other people killed the Smiths.

Kobauri’s previous lawyer, David Girgvliani refused to defend him after the reports of Rustavi 2 and Imedi TV, saying they had obtained the autopsy conclusion which reads that Kobauri’s genetic profile was found in Lora Smith’s body, pointing to the fact that she was raped before death.

Mtskheta court in eastern Georgia sent Kobauri to pre-trial detention on July 11 for the brutal murder of the Smith Family on July 4.

During the first interrogation, Kobauri pleaded guilty but later changed the testimony, saying "two foreigners” killed the family and threatened him to conceal the truth.

As stated by the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA), the shepherd first killed Ryan Smith, then the child and ran after Lora Smith, who was trying to escape.

Media says the autopsy results read she was drowned after being raped but the MIA has not yet confirmed the information.

Kobauri is facing life imprisonment if found guilty.

The American family had dual citizenship with Georgia, received in 2012. They had lived in the town of Marneuli for seven years.