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Court Leaves Suspect of the Smith Murder Case in Custody

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, August 29
Mtskheta District Court in eastern Georgia has left 19-year-old shepherd Malkhaz Kobauri in pre-trial detention, who is accused of the murder of Ryan and Lora Smith and their 4-year-old son Caleb in early July in mountainous Georgia.

The court did not meet the motion of Kobauri’s lawyer Aleksandre Kobaidze and said that if released Kobauri could go into hiding or make an influence on witnesses.

The lawyer and the family say that the court’s verdict is unfair as “it is impossible” the 19-year-old man to kill Ryan Smith, then a little boy and then to run after Lora Smith for half a kilometer, rape her and kill.

The lawyer confirms that Kobauri’s genetic profile was found “on Lora Smith’s body,” but he claims that Kobauri “who is virgin could not have raped the woman.”

The lawyer has already demanded the expertise to confirm the virginity.

Top Georgian media reported that they had obtained a document from the Tbilisi Forensic Bureau, which reads that the genetic profile was found “in Lora Smith’s body,” however, official agencies have not yet released a relevant conclusion.

Kobauri was also checked for mental health, and he turned out to be mentally fit, which means that if the court finds him guilty in the murder, he will be sent to prison lifetime.

Kobauri, who initially admitted to the crime and showed the killed child’s body to law enforcers as the Interior Ministry reported, changed the testimony shortly and said that “two foreigners” murdered the Smith, who threatened him not to tell the truth.

Later he changed the testimony again and said that “several foreigners” committed the crime.

The Smith was killed in the Khada Gorge of Eastern Georgia on July 4. Ryan Smith was found in a river with two gunshots, while Lora Smith’s body was found at a waterfall.

The case prosecutor says that a verbal dispute between Kobauri and Ryan Smith emerged because of the rifle the shepherd had with him.

“Ryan Smith made a remark to Kobauri, who was drunk, and said that he was not cautious with the weapon, especially in the presence of the child,” prosecutor David Kazarashvili told the court.

Kazarashvili said that during the dispute Kobauri shot Ryan Smith, while Lora Smith tried to escape and fell from a cliff.

The prosecutor did not mention rape during the trial, but the Interior Ministry confirmed in its previous statements that the alleged rape of Lora Smith was also being investigated.

Kobauri himself showed the site to the police where the child’s body was buried.

The Smith family had been living in Georgia for more than six years and they received Georgian citizenship in 2012.

They lived in the Marneuli region of eastern Georgia and locals describe them as very positive and helpful people.

Ryan Smith was the founder of rewoven, which creates Caucasian rugs with traditional methods to revive this lost art for the benefit of its weavers and their community.