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Columbus man to enter plea on murder charge


Joe Earl Smith

Joe Earl Smith



Sarah Fowler



A man charged with capital murder is scheduled to enter a plea today in Lowndes County Circuit Court.  


Joe Earl Smith, 42, of 1357 Charlie Smith Road, is charged with one count of capital murder in the August 2010 death of his ex-girlfriend, Linda Snell. He is also charged with three counts of aggravated assault related to prior altercations with Snell. 


The Saturday before her death, Smith and Snell were involved in a physical altercation which resulted in Snell being sent to the hospital.  


Hours before the alleged murder, Smith reportedly followed Snell in her vehicle and attempted to run her off the road.  


Smith was home in her Cypress Park Apartment when Smith broke into the residence through a patio door. He then allegedly beat her to death and fled the scene.  


Before he left, he reportedly turned the air conditioner to a cooler temperature and locked the apartment door. He then stole Snell's 1999 Honda Accord and fled.  


Concerned family members contacted law enforcement, who forced their way into the locked apartment where they discovered Snell's body in her bedroom shortly after 10 o'clock that Monday evening. She was pronounced dead at 10:53 p.m.  


Smith was located at a convenience store in Brooksville in Snell's vehicle Tuesday morning and was arrested on at the scene.  


He is expected to enter his plea at 1:30 p.m. today.


Sarah Fowler covered crime, education and community related events for The Dispatch.



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