Malkhaz Kobauri, who was accused of brutally killing the Smith Family in Georgia in summer 2018, was sentenced to life imprisonment on Wednesday.
A murderer of Smith Family sentenced to life imprisonment
By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, March 29
He and his family members noisily reacted to the prison term, claiming it was biased and unfair.
The jury delivered a guilty verdict a day before, saying that 19-year-old Kobauri, who worked as a shepherd in the Dusheti region of Georgia, first killed Ryan Smith, then the family’s four-year-old son Caleb and after he raped and then killed Lora Smith.
The jury unanimously delivered the verdict after a four-hour discussion.
Kobauri did not admit to the crime, speaking about several foreigners who killed the Smith.
His mother Mariam Martiashvili told the media that the case was influenced by the US and that his son “will not find justice” under the current state leadership.
US Consul in Georgia Janet Reber stated the court made a fair decision.
She stated that the life sentence was the request of the family of the Smith.
Reber thanked the jury, the judge and all those who worked on the case.
“We were closely watching this case, we had communication with the victims’ family. The evidence did not leave a room for any doubts. The family members of the Smiths supported the life sentence. It was a fair trial and a fair sentence," Reber said.
The Smith family went missing in early July 2018.
The bodies of Ryan and Lora Smith were found on 7 July in the Khada Gorge of Dusheti region, in eastern Georgia.
Initially, police said that Ryan and Lora Smith had no signs of violence on their bodies. However, later the Interior Ministry stated that Ryan Smith was shot dead and as he was found in the river in a very poor condition the shots were invisible at first glance.
Ryan Smith was shot twice, while Lora Smith’s body was found next to a waterfall.
Kobauri was detained on 11 July and he himself showed the site to law enforcers where a four-year-old Caleb’s body was buried.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs reported that initially Kobauri admitted to the crime, but later he said that “two foreigners” killed the Smiths. A bit later he mentioned “several foreigners.”
The case prosecutor stated in the beginning that the dispute between Kobauri and Ryan Smith emerged because of a rifle the shepherd carried with him. The prosecutor claimed that Ryan Smith told the shepherd to be cautious with the weapon, especially at the presence of a child.
At first, the Prosecutor’s Office stated that Lora Smith was likely to fall down from the cliff when she tried to escape. However, on 9 November 2018 Kobauri was charged with rape and murder of the woman. Kobauri is mentally fit, he has been psychologically checked.
Ryan and Lora Smith had dual Georgia and American citizenship and had been living in Georgia’s eastern Marneuli region for more than 10 years, where they had a business producing Azerbaijani rugs.