Smith Murder Trial Begins

By: Josh Gauntt Email
By: Josh Gauntt Email

Testimony began today in the case of a Georgia man accused of beating a woman to death at her Panama City Beach home last May.

Michael Scott Smith is facing first degree murder in the death of Diana Shafer. Shafer was beaten to death with a hammer at her Estrella Street mobile home on May 22nd.

Witnesses reportedly saw Smith enter Shafer's mobile home minutes before the murder took place. After the murder, Smith hitched a ride with a neighbor and was allegedly covered with blood.

Tuesday, Smith's attorney claims his client got into a fight with another man that morning. But prosecutors pointed out the man didn't have a scratch on him.

Testimony also revealed Smith and Shafer supposedly made a deal over a weed-eater two weeks before the murder.

Smith allegedly went to Shafer's home on May 22nd to retrieve the weed eater for his lawn job.

After an alleged argument, Smith allegedly killed Shafer with a hammer. Bay County Sheriff's investigators say smith tried using bleach to clean the blood off of his hands and clothes, and destroy evidence.

Prosecutor Stan Peacock says the bloody trail points directly to Smith.

"Diana Lee Shafer's blood was found on the head of the hammer. Michael Scott Smith's DNA was found on the handle of the same hammer. Shafer's blood was found on the inside pocket of Michael Scott Smith's cargo pants," Peacock said.

"Better was to think of this is a big puzzle. There's a piece here and a piece here. But at the end of the trial, you may be left with some doubt as to what exactly this puzzle shows because there are a lot of missing pieces," Jonathan Dingus, Smith's defense attorney said.

If convicted, Smith faces a mandatory life sentence. The trial will continue Wednesday and expected to wrap up on Thursday.


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