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Smith Family Murder in Georgia: Suspect Says He Can Recognize Killers

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, November 21
The 19-year-old suspect in the high-profile murder case of an American Smith Family in mountainous Georgia in the summer continues to claim he is innocent and says that he is able to recognize the two men who “killed” Ryan and Caleb Smiths, father and his four-year-old child.

“I can recognize the murderers of Ryan Smith and his son as I saw them, “ Kobauri answered the questions of the IPN news agency in prison.

"I was having a bath under the waterfall. Then two strangers came, took me to Ryan Smith and his son and killed them in my presence. I do not know where the woman was [referring to Lora Smith, wife of Ryan Smith who was also killed]. They took her somewhere. I can recognize two of the strangers. I can recognize definitely the one who killed the child and the man. I can also help investigation in the creation of a photo-robot," the suspect says.

He claims that when the strangers went away, he started seeking the bodies and that was why he was able to tell the police where Caleb Smith’s body was buried.

Kobauri says that he was threatened by police to say that he killed the family.

In early July police stated that Kobauri admitted to the crime and showed them the site where the child’s body was hidden.

However, as the body announced, later the suspect changed his testimony and said that “two foreigners” killed the family.

After about a week from changing the testimony, Kobauri mentioned several and not two foreigners in his testimony.

Initially, he was charged with the murder of Ryan and Caleb Smith. This month he was also charged with rape and murder of Lora Smith.

Kobauri’s lawyer says that the Prosecutor’s Office did not have any evidence to aggravate the charge, especially in the situation where the suspect “is a virgin.”

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

The Prosecutor’s Office initially stated that the verbal dispute between Kobauri and Ryan Smith led to the murder, as Smith gave a remark to Kobauri to be cautious with the rifle in the child's presence.

Now the Prosecutor’s Office says that the motive of the crime was Kobauri’s sexual attraction to Lora Smith.

The Smith had dual Georgian and US citizenship and lived in the Marneuli region of eastern Georgia of more than 10 years, having a business of Azerbaijani rugs [as Marneuli is mainly resided by ethnic Azeri population].

In early July they went to Khada Gorge of eastern Georgia for camping and having rest. The Smiths’ friends called the police as they couldn't contact them.