Smith denied parole again

Published 10:50 am Thursday, March 16, 2023

The Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles denied parole to Thomas Wesley Smith, 51, on March 2, nearly 24 after his conviction of the 1997 murder and burglary of 29-year-old Tracy Lowery Killough, who died of more than 20 stab wounds in her Shackleville Community home.

The Board denied Smith’s parole request after reviewing his incarceration record and hearing testimony for and against his release.

According to District Attorney (DA) Charlotte Tesmer, who tried the case in 1999, Smith pled guilty to the lesser charge of murder instead of capital murder and agreed not to request parole for 30 years after his prison term began.

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‘We are extremely pleased that he was denied,” Tesmer said. “I was the prosecutor when he pled guilty to that crime, so I am extremely pleased with the parole board. His plea agreement was 90 years, plus 15 years consecutively. So, that’s added on top of his agreement that he would not apply for nor except parole for 30 years.”

According to Tesmer, Smith was charged with escape while in prison, because he escaped from an Elmore County facility. Alabama Department of Corrections records indicate that Smith, who is currently housed at Limestone Correctional Center, was convicted on charges of theft of property in the first degree, burglary, and escape on Dec. 11, 2001.

Smith’s March 2 parole denial was the second since his Aug. 23,1999 conviction. Despite his plea agreement, Smith applied for and was denied parole on Sept. 25, 2012.

“Smith was charged with capital murder and was looking at life without parole or the death penalty if convicted,” Tesmer said. “We pled him to murder and burglary and basically, he took the deal to save his life and to have the possibility of parole over time. But it should be after an extremely long time and in my opinion, it has not been enough time.”

Smith’s brother, Doug Smith, spoke to the board on Smith’s behalf and asked they consider his request for release.

Several people attended the hearing and spoke against granting Smith’s parole, including the victim’s stepdaughter Shanna Baldwin, Killough’s son Chad Rossi, the Alabama Attorney General’s Victim’s Advocate Doris Hancock, the Alabama AG’s Victim Service Officer (VSO) Nayla Contreras, former Butler County DA’s VSO Tammy Marshall, and Tesmer.

The board reset Smith’s parole date to March 2028, at which time he may again request release. At that time, Smith will be one year shy of the 30 years he agreed to serve before requesting or accepting parole.

The board granted two inmates parole during the hearing, continued one, and denied parole to 23 others. Hearing minutes for the proceedings may be accessed at paroles.alabama.gov/hearing-minutes/.