Soldiers charged in slaying set court appearance

October 6, 2008 5:24:27 PM PDT
The husband of a slain Fort Bragg soldier and a colleague whom police say he hired to kill his wife, make their first court appearance.Sgt. Richard Smith and Private First Class Matthew Kvapil is charged with first degree murder and conspiracy in the death of 29-year-old Sgt. Christina Smith.

She was stabbed to death last Tuesday night in what police investigators call a murder for hire.

Both men made their first court appearances Monday afternoon, in a court-room at the Cumberland County Detention Center.

The two soldiers have been jailed without bond since their arrest early Friday morning. Monday, a judge told the pair they could be put to death if convicted of the crimes against them.

Standing rigid and showing no emotion, Smith listened as Judge Tal Baggett read the murder and conspiracy charge against him, and told him he could face the death penalty, for his wife's murder.

Flowers mark the spot on Baxter Street where Christina was stabbed in the neck and died.

Police say Smith told them someone jumped and stabbed his wife as they were out walking.

Investigators say that someone is fellow soldier, 18-year-old Matthew Wayne Kvapil. Police say smith hired Kvapil to kill his wife, even lured her to the spot where he was hiding.

At his first court Monday afternoon, Kvapil quietly answered yes when the judge asked he understood the murder and conspiracy charges against him, and that he too could face either the death penalty of life without parole.

On Friday, investigators recovered a knife they believe was the murder weapon, from a stream not far from the murder scene.

Investigators have not commented on a motive.

Both soldiers ask for and were assigned a court appointed attorney. They were ordered held without bond. Their next court hearing appearance is scheduled for October 23.


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