UPDATE: Todd Smith sentenced to 59 years in prison
Updated: 5:50pm, April 4, 2017
WINNEBAGO COUNTY (WIFR) -- Todd Smith maintains his innocence as he's sentenced to 59 year years in prison. Although he faced up to life in prison for the murder and concealment of his wife Katrina's body in 2012, 59 years is essentially a life sentence for the 49-year-old.
Smith started and ended his statement reading bible verses all while maintaining his innocence saying he believes he'll get a new trial.
"Although I am not guilty of the acts the state portrayed, I harbor no ill will towards anyone," he said during his allocution statement in court.
Todd smith will spend the rest of his life in prison. The Machesney Park man brutally killed his wife Katrina, beating her repeatedly in October 2012. He called Katrina's murder an evil and senseless tragedy.
"I'm sorry for failing in my role as husband and protector," he said.
Judge Fernando Engelsma had harsh words for Smith calling the crime unfathomable and his efforts in searches for his missing wife a slap in the face to her family and the community.
"It was nice to hear him say that and to know that he feels the same way that we do, and it was good to hear him tell him that," Miraynda Salinas, Katrina’s sister said in reaction to Judge Engelsma’s comments.
Katrina's family says they're happy with the sentence saying they finally feel some closure. They also had their chance in court talking to the man they once considered family.
"Certain people, including my family felt you had everything to do with the disappearance of Katrina, but I kept telling everyone there's no way you'd hurt Katrina. There was so much tension," Katrina’s mother, Vikki Nalevac said. She now knows Smith indeed did kill her daughter.
Nalevac says she still has feelings of guilt that she let her daughter down.
"It all hurt so much Todd, and all you had to do was walk away and let Katrina live the life she deserved, but out of greed and jealousy and rage, you chose to take her precious life," Nalevac tearfully said to Smith.
Salinas says she still reaches for her phone to call Katrina when she has good news, and wants us to remember Katrina as a loving, caring, and funny woman.
"She was one of the greatest people I’ve ever known and her death does not define her," Salinas said.
Katrina's mom says she's not ready to forgive Smith and left him with this quote to remember while he's in prison, "Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, but loves leaves memories that not even you can steal."
Smith will serve his sentence at 100 percent, meaning he cannot get out early for any reason, including good behavior.
Updated: 12:40 p.m. April 4, 2017
UPDATE: ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- Todd Smith is sentenced to 55 years plus 4 years for the death of Katrina Smith.
The 55 years is for the murder, the 4 years is for the concealment of a homicide.
The Judge says Todd's participation in searches is a slap in the face to everyone who searched for her.
Updated: April 4, 2017
UPDATE: ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- A judge denies a motion for a new trial for Todd Smith.
Smith's defense entered a motion for a new trial Tuesday morning. They say there was too much publicity on this case. They say Smith couldn't get a fair trial in this county.
Meanwhile, the state says jurors were told not to watch or read the news and were asked if they followed those orders every morning.
23 News weekend anchor Marissa Lesner is in the courtroom today and will keep us posted with any new developments.
Updated: January 25, 2017
UPDATE: ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Four years after her death Katrina Smith's family says they finally have justice as her husband Todd is convicted of her murder.
It's been a heart wrenching two and a half weeks as Katrina Smith's family had to relive the painful memories of her disappearance and death, but say now they finally have closure.
Tears and hugs in the courtroom as Katrina Smith's family is finally able to breathe a sigh of relief, four years after her brutal murder.
"I'll always miss Katrina, I'll always love her, but I’m just glad it’s over," Vikki Nalevac, Katrina’s Mother, said.
“We the jury find Todd Smith guilty of first degree murder,” Judge Fernando Engelsma said, reading the jury’s verdict.
Katrina's husband Todd slumps back in his seat as the verdict is read, seemingly in disbelief. Smith is guilty on all counts, including first degree murder, aggravated battery, aggravated domestic battery, and concealment of a homicide.
Nalevac now hopes we remember Katrina for the life she lived, not the way she died.
"She was a beautiful person inside and out. She loved life, she loved life, she loved kids, animals," she said, fighting back tears.
While Katrina’s family celebrates, Todd's family appears to be left in shock.
Through it all his three daughters kept in touch with Katrina’s family, something Nalevac says won't change.
"I feel sorry for them just as I felt sorry for us. It's not their fault and I can't imagine what they're going to go through and it’s going to be tough and I'm here if they need me," she said.
As the family now waits for Todd’s sentencing in March they're ready to move forward and put this nightmare in the past while always remembering this loving, caring woman who touched their lives in her 30 short years.
"We're going to go see Katrina tomorrow at the grave and we're going to tell her we finally have justice and we can breathe now,” Nalevac said.
Katrina's thanks the entire community for their support. From the searches for Katrina when she went missing, through the trial, they say the public has never forgotten about her.
Todd will be sentenced on March 22. Because one of the charges included the addition of brutal and heinous he faces 20 years up to life in prison.
Updated: January 25, 2017
UPDATE: ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- Todd Smith has been found guilty of first degree murder for the death of his wife Katrina in 2012.
The jury also found the crime to be brutal and heinous, meaning Todd Smith could face life in prison.
Sentencing has been scheduled for March 22.
Updated: January 25, 2017
UPDATE: ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- A decision has been reached in the trial of Todd Smith, the man accused of killing his wife Katrina in October 2012.
The jury deliberated for about five hours, sifting through more than 150 pieces of evidence in the case.
We will update you on the verdict as soon as it becomes available.
Updated: January 25, 2017
UPDATE: ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- "You are my wife, you will be my wife, you will die my wife," prosecutor Marilyn Hite Ross said as she finished her closing arguments in the Todd Smith murder trial, just before the jury began deliberations.
Prosecutors Hite Ross and James Brun reminded the jury of the evidence presented over the last few weeks, they say proves Todd Smith killed his wife Katrina in October 2012.
While defense attorney Margie O'Connor was critical of detectives work in the case, Hite Ross said the Winnebago County Sheriff's Department did a "stellar" job.
The state portrayed Katrina as a trusting woman who was afraid of Todd, described by prosecutors as controlling husband. They referee back to text messages Katrina sent her stepfather as proof, asking him about the process of getting a gun.
Some of Katrina's friends and family were overcome with emotion and had to leave the courtroom as Hite Ross described the beating Katrina took in what she believes were the moments before her death.
The state called it "poetic justice" when the GPS tracker, they say Todd used to follow Katrina's movements in the weeks before her death, tracked him, they say from where he put her body in the river, to where her car was left, and back they say to the areas around Todd's house.
Defense attorney O'Connor began her arguments reminding jurors they can't be sympathetic in making their decision, saying it will be hard to look at the pictures of Katrina without feeling sympathetic and wanting justice for her, but said justice will not be done by finding Todd guilty.
O'Connor argued there are too many unanswered questions in the case, saying there were too many things not done by investigators. She says a hair found in Katrina's trunk should have been tested, but never was. It was much of the same case concerning fingerprints found on the car. O'Connor also says Katrina's purse and wallet should have been tested for prints.
O'Connor said the "biggest mistake" made by investigators was charging Todd with Katrina's murder. She argues confirmation bias, saying detectives "put a spotlight" on Todd and forgot to look at other suspects.
She points to Guy Gabriel as the one who killed Katrina. She says text messages show Katrina had lost interest in him, and says he was the controlling one, not Todd. O'Connor also showed Gabriel's mug shot from a domestic violence arrest last December. She says it shows his violent tendencies.
O'Connor reminded the jury none of the evidence tested for DNA ever came back as a match to Todd.
Smith is charged with first degree murder, aggravated battery, aggravated domestic battery, and concealment of a homicidal death. There is an additional allegation of brutal and heinous jurors will have to decide if they find him guilty of murder. If they believe the death was brutal and heinous, Smith could face life in prison. The sentencing range for first degree murder without that enhancement is 20-60 years in prison.
23 News will continue to update you with the latest on the trial. For live updates, follow @MarissaLesner23 or search #ToddSmithTrial on Twitter.
Updated: January 24, 2017
UPDATE: ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- After eight days of testimony, spanning more than two weeks, closing arguments will begin Wednesday morning after the defense rests it's case Tuesday afternoon.
The defense took their last opportunity to plant a seed of doubt in the minds of jurors, presenting their own evidence.
Guy Gabriel, the man Katrina Smith was in a relationship with, finds himself at the center of the defense’s case as they argue the Machesney Park woman’s husband, Todd, didn’t kill her in 2012.
Two officers and a nurse testified Tuesday morning about injuries Gabriel’s current wife received in December 2016, allegedly from Gabriel during a domestic dispute.
Officer Allison Remnis, from the DeKalb Police Department says Gabriel’s wife had a bloody lump on her head and scratches on her throat and chest.
Shannon Wentz, a Registered Nurse at Rochelle Community Hospital who treated Gabriel’s wife also testified. She says Gabriel’s wife told her Guy Gabriel pushed her to the ground, slammed her head against the floor, and choked her.
The defense argues the injuries his wife received are similar to those Katrina received. Smith was beaten to death, likely the deadly blows on her head. Throughout the case, the defense has pointed to Gabriel and what they say is a lack of investigation by deputies into his involvement in the case.
On Monday, surveillance video was shown, proving Gabriel was at work the night Katrina disappeared. Deputies also searched his trailer and his parents’ home, however defense argued Gabriel’s car was not searched.
Tim Firn, the HR Director at Field Fastener also took the stand Tuesday morning. Defense attorneys questioned him about a string of emails sent between Firn and Katrina Smith in the days leading up to her disappearance. She was supposed to have a job interview with the company on October 23, the day after she went missing. In question, an email sent at 10:54pm on October 22. Firn says the last email he received from Katrina came at 5:45pm on October 22.
However, during cross examination, prosecutors pointed out differences in the emails sent by Katrina Firn did receive, and that email sent at 10:54pm, which he did not receive. The email from 10:54pm was not written in a formal and professional manner. All the other emails were. Prosecutors are alluding to the fact it could have been written by Todd, after Katrina was already dead.
Testimony will continue at 1:30pm. For up to the minute information on the case follow Marissa Lesner on Twitter @MarissaLesner23 or search for #ToddSmithTrial.
UPDATE: ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Defense attorneys begin arguing their case as they try proving Todd Smith's innocence. Already a small victory for them as the judge throws out 13 of the 22 murder counts against him.
The state rested its case late this afternoon so the defense only had the chance to call three quick witnesses. The arguments focused on a piece of carpet taken from the steps in smith's home. An expert from the crime lab testified the fibers from that carpet sample didn't match those fibers found on some bloody paper towels.
The final witness of the day was a worker from SwedishAmerican Hospital. She says in 2010 Katrina came in with stomach pains, but told a nurse she fell in the garage a day or two before.
"She was going up or down the steps and missed a step and had fallen on her face in the garage and hit her face and shoulder," the woman explained.
Before resting their case prosecutors presented strong evidence seeming to connect the dots of many pieces of evidence we've heard over the last several days.
In what appears to be a homemade card with Katrina’s name on the front and a heart on the inside Todd Smith pours his heart out, telling his estranged wife he'll do anything to win her back. Deputy Bob Juanez, who found the card in Katrina’s car, read the note in court. In part, Todd says he worries someone will come between them.
"Please know this, I trust you, I know what kind of person you are and I know your integrity would prevent you from cheating," he wrote.
Prosecutors argue he already knew Katrina was involved with another man, Guy Gabriel.
"I have a question for you regarding your appointment, so give me a call when you can. I look forward to hearing more about it," the court heard in a voicemail recording left on Katrina’s phone just before noon the day after her disappearance. Her boss says it was Todd.
Arguably the most important pieces of evidence were maps which show GPS coordinates Detective Juanez says he found on Todd's computer. He says they were under a program called Super Trackstick. Detective Juanez says the pings from the device tracked to the places Katrina’s body was likely put in the river, to where her car and cell phone were left, and the path the detective believe Todd took home.
Defense attorneys argued the coordinates and matching times downloaded from Todd’s computer could have been wrong and since the GPS device wasn't ever found, they argue no one knows what it was tracking.
"I know it’s tracking and is consistent with a person because a car isn't going to drive through fields and ditches,” Det. Juanez said.
“Bicycle?” Margie O’Connor, Defense Attorney questioned. “Possibly a bicycle," Det. Juanez answered.
Detective Juanez says he found a google search on Todd’s laptop from October 6 for the highest bridge in Rockford. The defense says there's no telling what exactly that search was for, arguing it could have been for anything like a general history of Rockford or even for a crossword puzzle.
Also, surveillance video was shown that puts Guy Gabriel at work overnight when Katrina went missing. Defense attorneys argued that point too, because video of the parking lot and Gabriel's car was never taken.
Updated: January 23, 2017
UPDATE: ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- “I am scared to death” words written by Todd Smith to his wife Katrina in a card found in her car. In the note, Todd apologizes for how unhappy his wife has been, calling her an incredible person. He writes that he’s worried she will start talking to someone who will take advantage of their situation and feelings will develop. Todd goes on to write he trusts his wife and knows her integrity would keep her from cheating.
The card was found by Detective Bob Juanez, who says before finding the card, Smith told him there were no problems in the marriage. Juanez says he was told the couple was talking about adopting a child, and Katrina was only house-sitting at a friend’s condo because she was out of town.
Det. Juanez also searched Smith’s computers found at his house, a desktop, Smith said Katrina used, and a laptop, he used. On both computers Det. Juanez says the internet search history was deleted. On the desktop there was evidence of emails sent by Katrina. The last one was time stamped 10:54pm the night she disappeared.
Det. Juanez says on the laptop he found phrases used in the flier that was distributed at Katrina’s work, however did not find the actual document itself. He also found the program for Super Trackstick software, which is used with a tracking device. A file was saved under the program named “KS 10412” That was the date Katrina had drinks with Guy Gabriel, a coworker who she later had a relationship with. Katrina’s friends and coworkers previously testified she was worried Todd was somehow tracking her movements.
Katrina’s boss also took the stand, for the second time in this trial. She was able to show the surveillance video from inside the business, showing Guy Gabriel was at work from 4pm on October 22 until 5:30am on October 23, giving him an alibi for the night Katrina went missing.
A voicemail was also played, that was left on Katrina’s voicemail at work from Todd. In the message, sent at 11:49am on October 23, Todd says he wanted to talk to Katrina about her “appointment.” He then asks Katrina to give him a call when she can and tells her he looks forward to hearing from her. That “appointment” was in reference to the job interview she was supposed to have that day.
Testimony will continue this afternoon. The state is expected to rest its case today, then the defense will get a chance to argue it’s case. You can follow Marissa Lesner on Twitter for live updates through the day @MarissaLesner23 or search for #ToddSmithTrial.
Updated: January 20, 2017
ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- Friday morning’s court proceeding was the best chance so far for the defense to cast doubt on someone other than Todd Smith for the murder of his wife Katrina.
Guy Gabriel, a colleague of Katrina's at Cameron Industries, who also had a relationship with her after she separated from Todd, took the stand.
Gabriel says his relationship changed with Katrina after an October 4th meeting where she asked him for advice on hiring a divorce attorney. Gabriel says the two went for a walk in a park in Belvidere on October 8, the day before someone distributed fliers at work, claiming the two had an intimate relationship. Gabriel says Katrina called him, very upset and embarrassed. He also says she couldn't figure out how Todd was able to follow her. Gabriel says he and Katrina did not have an intimate relationship at the time.
He went on to read several text messages he sent to Katrina the day she disappeared. Many centered around the conversation Katrina had with Todd, at his home that night. Katrina was there doing laundry because the washing machine at the condo where she was staying was broken. Gabriel says Katrina was upset because Todd said he'd consider adoption, something Katrina wanted but Todd originally didn't. In many of the messages Gabriel says he's encouraging Katrina to tell Todd she wants a divorce and explain her feelings to him. He says he was simply encouraging her to do what she told him so many times she wanted. The defense however tried to portray it as Gabriel being pushy and trying to destroy a marriage.
When Gabriel was asked if Katrina actually told Todd she wanted a divorce, he said he thought she said she did, however in many of the messages after that part of the conversation Gabriel contributed to talk to Katrina about telling Todd her feelings and that the marriage was over.
Gabriel says the last text he sent Katrina was at 8:33pm. He says he got a delayed response, which was unusual.
Gabriel has a solid alibi for the night Katrina disappeared. He worked overnight at Cameron Industries, 6pm-4:30am.
Gabriel says he met Todd and Katrina's stepfather Bruce Edlund two days after her disappearance. When questioned by Todd, Gabriel says he told him he knew Katrina was at Todd’s house the night she went missing and told Todd he should worry about finding his wife.
During cross-examination the defense brought up a text Gabriel sent to Katrina, saying he'd come to fix the broken washing machine on Friday. Defense attorney Margie O'Connor questioned him on the message, asking if it was actually about sex, service if Katrina and not the washing machine. Gabriel said it was possible but wasn't sure.
O'Connor also tried discrediting Gabriel, bringing up the fact he had a revoked drivers license at the time of Katrina's disappearance. Despite not legally being able to drive, he followed police officers to the Roscoe Police Department. O'Connor also brought up a pending domestic violence case Gabriel has in DeKalb County for allegedly abusing his wife in December 2016. When asked if he was trying to get a better deal on that case by helping with this Gabriel said no.
O'Connor also questioned Gabriel about other possible relationships he had with women at work. He says there were two Hispanic women he worked with. O'Connor pressed he flirted with them and said they were interested in him, however Gabriel said he couldn't remember and couldn't speak to how they felt.
Throughout the trial, the defense has maintained police didn't investigate enough other suspects, saying they focused in on Todd too quickly. Gabriel says police searched his trailer where he lived in Chana, went to the Sheriff's Department to give a statement, and had fingerprints taken.
More testimony was also heard Friday morning about the statement Todd made to detectives about blood in Katrina's car, before it had been processed. Det. John Berg says he's the one who spoke with Katrina's family. He says he made no comments about blood in the car, and again said it had t been processed yet so no one knew blood was in the trunk.
Adam Peterson also testified, showing the surveillance video from a camera mounted in his home, which at the time was located at the corner of Elm Ave. and Ashdown Place. A person is seen walking south on Elm, then turning east on Ashdown Pl. Defense made the argument no one can tell if the person is a man or a woman, much less Todd Smith.
Officer Ryan Kelly, the Roscoe Police Officer who initially talked to Todd testified Katrina's husband said he last saw her at his house at 9pm. Kelly says when he asked if Katrina had ever been depressed or abused drugs or alcohol he said no.
Testimony continues Friday afternoon. Follow our reporter, Marissa Lesner on Twitter for live updates through the day, @MarissaLesner23 or by searching for #ToddSmithTrial.
Updated: January 19, 2017
UPDATE: ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- Testimony will resume Friday morning.
Judge Fernando Engelsma said all 14 jurors will be present and ready to go at 9am Friday.
One juror was sick, pushing back testimony, however attorneys are working on jury instructions.
Updated: January 19, 2017
UPDATE: ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- Testimony is on hold until Thursday afternoon in the Todd Smith murder trial.
Judge Fernando Engelsma made the announcement Thursday morning, telling everyone to come back at 1:30pm.
23 News was told a juror was sick. There are alternates that could be used in that person's place if need be.
In the meantime, attorneys will work on jury instructions, a necessary part of the process that typically takes several hours. Judge Engelsma says this is a way to make the best out of the jury's time.
Updated: January 18, 2017
UPDATE: ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- For the first time, jurors, Katrina Smith’s family, and the court sees the gruesome and heartbreaking pictures of the Machesney Park woman’s bruised and muddy body.
Pictures from her autopsy were shown in court as Dr. Mark Peters, the forensic pathologist who performed the autopsy, testified to her injuries and cause of death. The pictures showed two cuts on the back of Katrina’s scalp, one very large, and five cuts on the top of her head, about one to two inches in length each. Dr. Peters says Katrina had hemorrhaging beneath her scalp, however, her skull was not broken. Her face was so red and bruised it was barely recognizable. Her arms, legs, and torso also had deep, dark bruises.
Dr. Peters says Katrina died from blunt trauma to her head with or without asphyxia. He says he’s not sure if Katrina died before she was put in the river. He testified the blows to her head may not have killed Katrina instantly, however they may have been enough to knock her unconscious. Dr. Peters says the blows to Katrina’s head were made by a cylindrical object, like a bat, but couldn’t say for sure what the object was that killed her.
During cross examination, Dr. Peters says the object could have been a smaller cylindrical object, like a broom stick. He was also questioned about how much blood would have been at the crime scene. He says one hit would have produced little blood, but each hit after that would create more and more. He also admitted some of Katrina’s injuries could have happened when she was thrown in the trunk.
Detective Ryan Heavin says he found information about what’s called a Super Trackstick, which is a GPS monitoring device. You may remember, detectives found a clip for a GPS device in Todd Smith’s house. Det. Heavin says that clip matches the Super Trackstick, and the clip was modified to fit a wire, which happened to be found on the undercarriage of Katrina’s car. She was worried in the weeks leading up to her death Todd was tracking her movements. Det. Heavin says the model used was a historical tracker, meaning it didn’t tell in real time where something is located, rather, it gives information about where someone has been, and can be uploaded to Google maps.
Blake Aper from the Illinois State Police Crime Lab testified about the testing he did on several objects. He says no blood was found on the black hiking boots taken from Todd’s house, however blood was found on paper towels, a pink towel found in Katrina’s trunk, and the trunk bed itself. All of that blood matched Katrina’s DNA. Her DNA was also found in the blood on the bat taken from Todd’s house. When Aper tested the substance on the garage step, it originally did not come back as blood, however he tested the DNA anyway. He says it came back positive for three types of DNA, a major contributor he says was Katrina. He couldn’t figure out who the other two were because there wasn’t enough of a sample.
Testimony continues this afternoon. Follow our reporter, Marissa Lesner on Twitter for live updates, @MarissaLesner23, or search for #ToddSmithTrial for up to the minute details on what’s happening throughout the day.
Updated: January 17, 2017
UPDATE: ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Descriptions of a very tired and distracted Todd Smith, the morning after his wife Katrina’s disappearance. Business clients say Smith told them his new puppy kept him up all night.
It's just another of the many pieces of evidence prosecutors say prove he killed his wife and dumped her body in the Rock River. It was a difficult day in court for Katrina’s family as an investigator described the Machesney Park woman's badly bruised body. She was beaten to death and investigator Michael Pearson says she had five cuts on her head. One he says was a long circular cut.
Tuesday morning Todd's friend, drew Anderson took the stand, talking about Todd's reaction in November when Todd couldn't find the bat he thought was in the corner of the garage.
"I was walking there and I didn't really know what I was looking for and so I asked and Todd asked is there a bat over there? And I proceeded to say no,” Anderson said. Prosecutors questioned him, “and when you indicated it was not a bat, did you see Todd Smith?” Anderson replied, “Yes. I observed that he looked a little distraught after I told him what the answer was."
Sweet dreams, I love you. It was a text to Katrina Smith’s phone that she never got. Prosecutors say it was from her estranged husband Todd, likely after he killed her. It was one of many texts revealed in court.
Another text could be a motive for murder. Katrina was texting with Guy Gabriel the evening of October 22nd, the night she went missing. Detective Nick Cunningham who pulled their phone records, says Katrina told Gabriel while at Todd’s house that night she wanted a divorce. Gabriel then replied saying you can't control his reaction, but if he loves you he'll understand.
Cunningham says Gabriel sent Katrina a three-part message at 9:24pm. Only two of the three messages were opened. That chilling message from Todd saying sweet dreams, I love you, was sent at 11:24pm. It also was never opened.
Meanwhile, one of Todd’s clients, Thomas Lynch, met with him at 9am the next day. Lynch says Todd wasn't engaged in the meeting, saying it didn't seem like he was listening and looked extremely tired. Lynch says Todd told him he was up all night with a new puppy. Another client testified to the same thing.
Finally, the trail of evidence. Detective Cunningham looked at cell phone pings and says around 2:45pm Todd was in the area where Katrina’s car and cell phone were found. About 15 minutes later he was at the condo where Katrina was staying. Detective Cunningham says shortly after getting a call from Roscoe Police Todd was in the area of South Main Street in Rockford where Katrina’s wallet was found.
Defense Attorney Margie O’Connor argued there were many businesses in all those areas. She says Todd could have been at a store or restaurant. She also continued to hammer away at parts of the detectives investigations. Many of the pieces of evidence were tagged with the wrong date. Investigators say it was a glitch with the computer system. However it's another way the defense is trying to plant seeds of doubt in jurors’ minds.
Katrina was worried Todd was tracking her. Detective Cunningham says a clip for a GPS tracking device was found in Todd’s desk. Investigator Michael Pearson says while inspecting Todd’s laptop he found tracking software that was removed from the laptop three days after Katrina’s disappearance.
Updated: January 13, 2017
UPDATE: ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- To the naked eye, Katrina Smith's car appeared clean, but a closer look finds large amounts of blood in the trunk. The steering wheel, stick shift, and driver's seat also had blood on them, and a long piece of hair was caught in a hinge on the trunk.
That testimony came on day three of the Todd Smith murder trial. He's accused of killing his wife Katrina, in October 2012.
Crime Scene Investigator Tim Speer testified about the blood he found in Katrina's car. He also says the car was wiped clean before it was left on the side of Obispo Ave. in Machesney Park.
Speer also testified Katrina's purse was found about 500 feet from her car in a wooded area. Her cell phone was found in a bush in the 700 block of Ralston Road, which is also the same area. Her wallet was then found at S. Main St. and Lane St. in Rockford.
It was an emotional morning in court for Katrina's family as pictures of her muddy body were shown after it was pulled from the Rock River in Byron on November 9. Byron Firefighter Ryan Bruce was the one who found her. He was fishing in the evening on October 31 and his boat was caught on a log. While stuck he thought he saw a piece of trash, but it was too dark to make out exactly what it was. After hearing of Katrina's disappearance on November 9 he decided to go back out and take a closer look. What he thought was trash or debris was in fact Katrina Smith.
The morning started with the continued testimony of Det. Vince Lindberg, who was a lead investigator on the case. Defense attorney Margie O'Connor held nothing back in a hard line of questioning. O'Connor seemed to criticize Det. Lindberg for his note-taking skills, perhaps creating some doubt if a comment he says Todd made about blood in Katrina's car, actually happened. That comment came before the car had been processed, so no one knew it was there.
O'Connor also pointed out small inconsistencies in Det. Lindberg's testimony like misreading a statement, and saying Norman Ave. instead of Normandy Ave.
She also questioned the detective about lying to Todd Smith. Det. Lindberg admitted to lying to Smith on some occasions, saying it is allowed. One example was when Todd was asked to come down to the sheriff's department to look at pictures. Det. Lindberg says he never planned on showing Smith any photos.
O'Connor also questioned Det. Lindberg about not recording any conversations with Todd. He explained when those conversations took place Todd was not a suspect, and therefore not recorded.
In opening statements the defense argued detectives didn't investigate other suspects and focused in on Todd. However in cross examination, Det. Lindberg named off several people who were considered as persons of interest in the case.
Updated: January 12, 2017
UPDATE: ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- It's a statement and knowledge of the crime that even shocked detectives on the case. That comment, made by Todd Smith to detectives is enough many think points to him as the person who killed his wife Katrina in October 2012.
Detective Vince Lindberg says Todd called him just days after Katrina disappeared upset, Todd said, because a detective told Katrina’s family that her blood was found in her car. However, Det. Lindberg says no one ever said that, in fact, the car hadn't been processed so even they didn't know there was blood in Katrina’s car.
"He then changed his account where he got the information and said it was through the grapevine or through a blog," Det. Lindberg explained during trial.
That was one of many changing stories described by several witnesses during testimony on Thursday.
Actions speak louder than words and many times for detectives looking for a suspect, that statement couldn't be more true. In this case Detective Lindberg says Todd’s demeanor was very suspicious, acting very nervous.
"He got a little bit louder with me, red in the face, he started rubbing his head again, he put his head down, trying to make up for what he had said," Det. Lindberg said.
That was Todd’s reaction, Det. Lindberg says after Todd told two different stories about what Katrina was doing the night she disappeared.
When asked about his marriage Todd told detectives it was fine, that there was no talk of a divorce, but that wasn’t true. We heard on Wednesday Katrina had met with a divorce attorney, and the two were legally separated. She was living in a friend's condo, but that's not what Katrina’s best friend, Ashley Cygan, says Todd told her.
"I asked him if they had had a fight, if she just left for a while to clear her head, he said no, everything had been fine. She went to Kelly’s condo to check on the place as she had been doing and she never came back," Cygan said during testimony.
We also saw a piece of evidence, boots found in Todd’s house. Investigators say they were soaking wet the day after Katrina disappeared, which was on a rainy night. Detectives say there was a trail of evidence from the Latham Bridge to where Katrina’s car was found. Plus there was video of a person walking from the area in the direction of Todd’s house.
The defense will get the chance to cross examine Det. Lindberg first thing in Friday morning.
For up to the minute updates on the trial follow Marissa Lesner on Twitter, @MarissaLesner23 or by searching for #ToddSmithTrial
Updated: January 12, 2017
UPDATE: ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- It's a tale of changing stories coming out during testimony at the Todd Smith murder trial.
Detective Vince Lindberg says after Katrina's disappearance Todd called him, upset, saying Katrina's family was told blood was found in her car. The thing is, Det. Lindberg says the car hadn't been processed yet, and even he didn't know Katrina's blood was inside her car.
When Det. Lindberg later asked Todd about that statement, he backtracked saying he must have heard it through the grapevine or read it on a blog. During testimony it came out Todd had changing stories about other situations as well. Katrina's best friend says when she learned Katrina was missing she talked to Todd. He told her Katrina was checking on a friend’s empty condo and never came home, saying their marriage was great. That actually wasn't the case. Katrina and Todd had separated, she was living at that condo, and wanted a divorce. Detective Lindberg says there were also inconsistencies with Todd's story about what Katrina was doing the night she vanished. We also heard more about what some describe as Todd's lackluster efforts to find Katrina. One woman says he was on his phone during a search.
“I made the comment about “well he’s not doing anything” and he just kinda [sic] looked at me, he was on the phone and he just kept saying something about, just kinda kept brushing himself off, like he was getting upset that grass or things were on him. That was about it,” recounts Victoria Lehrke who was involved in search for Katrina.
Defense attorneys made the argument Vicky Lehrke didn't know what Todd was doing on his phone, saying it could have had something to do with the search efforts. They also questioned why detectives took a pair of boots into evidence which had no blood on them, but were muddy and filled with grass and debris.
Updated: January 11, 2017
UPDATE: ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- Prosecutors paint a picture of a crumbling marriage and controlling husband who was tracking his wife's movements in the days before her death as they begin the murder trial of Todd Smith.
Smith is accused of killing his wife, Katrina Smith in October 2012.
Prosecutors say all the evidence points to Todd Smith as Katrina's killer. They say he was the last person to see her before she disappeared on October 30. They say her blood was found on a baseball bat in Todd's garage and tracking information from her car was on his computer.
Katrina's boss, Christina Gonzalez-Buyak, says Katrina talked of her wishes for a divorce and said Todd was controlling. Gonzalez-Buyak says Katrina was worried Todd was tracking her through her cell phone. She also talked about an incident where hundreds of fliers were distributed in the parking lot at work on October 9, the day after Katrina moved out of Todd's house. It accused Katrina of having an affair with a coworker, Guy Gabriel. In previous hearings, prosecutors said they found those fliers on Todd's computer.
Katrina's step-father Bruce Edlund says she was worried for her safety. Text messages were shown in court where Katrina is asking Bruce about how to get a FOID card so she could get a gun. She also asks if she needs the card to go to a shooting range.
Edlund also talked about the searches for Katrina in the weeks she was missing. He says Todd was there, but didn't help much, saying he wasn't enthusiastic and didn't do a thorough search.
Edlund says Todd was the beneficiary of a $330,000 life insurance policy. He says Katrina was the breadwinner of the family.
Defense attorneys however presented a different picture. One of a loving husband, worried about his wife who was singled out in a bad police investigation. In opening statements defense attorney Kristine Barton says the evidence is unclear and inconclusive, saying investigators couldn't figure out the case, so they stretched the evidence to tie it to Todd. Barton says the real suspects were never investigated.
Defense attorneys also tried poking holes in the prosecutions characterization of Katrina as a conservative church-going woman. They say in the month before her death she started drinking and had an affair with her coworker Guy Gabriel. However Edlund, who confirmed the affair, said she wasn't acting differently and says the affair just shows how unhappy Katrina was in her marriage.
Katrina's body was found on November 9 in the Rock River near Byron.
If convicted Smith could face life in prison.
Updated: January 10, 2017
UPDATE: ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) – After having a difficult time finding jurors Monday, eleven jurors have been selected for the murder trial against Todd Smith, the man accused of killing his wife Katrina and leading us on a search for her body.
Smith is accused of killing Katrina Back in 2012. Smith faces 20 to 60 years in prison if convicted, and if prosecutors can prove the murder was evil, cruel, and cold-blooded it’s possible that he can get up to 100 years in prison.
Twelve jurors are needed to move forward with the trial, plus alternates.
Posted: January 9, 2016
ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) – He pleaded for her safe return and now faces charges for her death. Jury selection was underway Monday in the murder trial for Todd Smith, the man accused of killing his wife Katrina Smith in October 2012.
Before Todd Smith’s trial was even close to beginning, nearly a year ago Judge John Truitt said there’s enough circumstantial evidence that could prove Smith is guilty of his wife’s murder. Judge Truitt has since retired and Judge Fernando Englesma is now presiding over the case.
After hours of questioning, no jurors have been selected.
“I just want her to come home or call or let us know that she’s safe. Katrina, please,” Smith told 23 News in an interview in 2012.
Now, police say Katrina Smith’s husband Todd is the one who killed her and covered it up. During a hearing to allow hearsay evidence in the trial, we learned Katrina was going to her estranged husband’s house to ask for a divorce on October 22, 2012, the night she disappeared. Text messages and spoken conversations between Katrina and friends of her plans for divorce will be allowed in the trial.
Katrina’s body was found about two weeks later, in the Rock River near Byron.
Autopsy photos will likely also be used in the trial, showing bruises all over Katrina’s body which experts testified during those previous hearings were made before her death. She had several gashes on her head and blunt force trauma was ruled as her cause of death.
Pictures taken by deputies show evidence of blood in the trunk of Katrina’s car and on a baseball bat found in Todd’s house. An expert says Todd’s DNA was not found on any of those items.
Jury selection is expected to take two to three days. Marissa Lesner will be in the courtroom once opening statements begin and 23 News will have comprehensive coverage and analysis every step of the way, all the way to the verdict and reaction after the trial is over.
Smith faces up 20 to 60 years in prison if convicted. If prosecutors can prove the murder was evil, cruel, and cold-blooded, he can get up to 100 years in prison.