Soldier's husband charged with her murder

October 3, 2008 12:32:51 PM PDT
Police arrested and charged two people, including a soldier's husband, in connection with her stabbing death.

Fayetteville police detectives arrested two men in connection with the stabbing death of Ft. Bragg soldier Sgt. Christina Smith.

They arrested 18-year-old Private First Class Mathew Kvapil. He is charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder.

Smith's husband, 26-year-old Sgt. Richard D. Smith was also arrested. He is charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder.

Police are calling the murder a contract killing. Richard Smith apparently hired Kvapil to kill Christina Smith.

Police said Christina Smith was attacked while walking with her husband, Sgt. Richard D. Smith.

Richard Smith told police an attacker stabbed his wife in the neck about 9 p.m. Tuesday and fled as the soldier ran after him. Richard Smith was treated for minor injuries.

Neighbors said they heard a woman screaming and saw Christina Smith lying in a pool of blood.

Police said witnesses and the husband were questioned Wednesday, but police have released few details and haven't described the attacker.

Fort Bragg officials said the Smiths both were assigned to an Army special operations unit. She was a graphics illustrator in Company A, 5th Battalion, 4th Psychological Operations Group.

Residents of the neighborhood in north Fayetteville said the Smiths had lived there several months. The neighbors said it wasn't unusual for couples to walk, jog or push strollers in the evening.

"It's unusual for something like this to happen here," said Kevin DiCassio, an 11-year resident of the area. "You get numbed by hearing about crime in other areas, but this kind of strikes home."

In two previous cases this year, female soldiers were killed off the post under different circumstances.

The body of Spc. Megan Touma, 23, was found June 21 in a Fayetteville motel bathtub.

Touma was seven months pregnant and had been at the post less than two weeks. Sgt. Edgar Patino, 27, and the father of the unborn child, was charged with her death on July 29.

On July 10, 2nd Lt. Holley Wimunc, 24, an Army nurse, was reported missing from her apartment. Her body was found three days later by crews fighting a brush fire near North Carolina's Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base.

Wimunc's estranged husband, Marine Cpl. John Wimunc of Camp Lejeune, was arrested July 14. Lance Cpl. Kyle Alden was charged with aiding John Wimunc by destroying evidence and providing a false alibi.

Late last year, Marine Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach, 20, was killed near Camp Lejeune. She was eight months pregnant at the time. Marine Cpl. Cesar Laurean is charged with first-degree murder in the slaying and is awaiting extradition from Mexico.

The Army Special Operations Command said Christina Smith had a bachelor's degree in communications from Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio.

She is survived by her husband and her parents, Katherine and Steven Loehrke of Mount Orab, Ohio, the Army said.


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