A judge again has found Timothy Smith guilty of first-degree murder in the shooting death of a 48-year-old man who responded to an online post advertising sex with Smith’s pregnant wife.
The verdict was announced in McHenry County court Thursday by Judge Sharon Prather – the same judge who sentenced Smith to 50 years in prison for Prairie Grove man Kurt Milliman’s death after a 2013 jury trial. The case was sent back on appeal in 2015 on the grounds Prather should have allowed jurors to convict Smith of involuntary manslaughter as an alternative verdict to first-degree murder.
Smith’s family entered the courtroom Thursday hoping Prather might convict the 34-year-old of second-degree murder. Defense attorney Matthew Haiduk asked for the verdict during closing statements earlier this month, claiming Smith was defending his wife, Kimberly Smith, when he shot Milliman on May 28, 2011.
Haiduk also asked for a finding of involuntary manslaughter, a verdict Prather described as “less culpable” than the alternatives.
“He most certainly knew that when you put a loaded gun to somebody’s back, you’re likely to cause death or great bodily harm,” Prather said in court.
She also pointed to Timothy Smith’s behavior directly after he shot Milliman, noting that he tried to stage a break-in at his Doty Road home in Woodstock.
The situation began when Milliman arrived at the Smiths’ home looking for sex with a two-months pregnant Kimberly Smith, who had agreed to the arrangement. When she changed her mind, however, Milliman became angry and aggressive, she testified in 2013.
Timothy Smith did not enter the room until he heard his wife scream for help, he said. That’s when he came around the corner with a .38-caliber handgun and shot Milliman, he previously testified. During his Aug. 1 testimony, however, he claimed that the gun “just went off” and he never pulled the trigger.
Timothy Smith’s family said he has managed to turn his life around in the past seven years, and has been mentoring other inmates and attending counseling services, said Timothy Smith’s cousin by marriage, Mary Smith.
“He’s trying hard to make amends for what’s he’s done,” she said.
Two of Milliman’s relatives who left the courthouse in tears Thursday only wished to thank the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office for helping to reconvict Timothy Smith of first-degree murder.
Prather is scheduled to issue a sentence Oct. 18.