Local/State

Two sentenced for Fayetteville murder for hire death

Monday, October 29, 2012

Two former Fort Bragg soldiers will spend the rest of their lives in prison for a murder for hire scheme to kill one of their wives.

It was a day in court Steve Loehrkey had waited four years for. However, it was a day that may bring not bring him any peace or sense of justice.

"Am I at peace, no. Will I ever be at peace, no," said Loehrkey . "I'm always mad. I am always angry. I miss my daughter. He took something very special from us."

His daughter, Army Sgt. Christina Smith, was stabbed to death in 2008, as she and her husband walked near their home.

Richard Smith initially told police they were ambushed, but investigators quickly discovered Smith paid another soldier, Pvt. Matthew Kvapil, $30,000 to kill his wife.

In court Monday, both men admitted to their part in the murder for hire scheme, as part of a plea bargain to avoid the death penalty.

Outside of court, Loehrkey vented his anger that it took four years to get to guilty pleas.

"We live in the state of Ohio. The state of Ohio would have had this done over and tried out within a year," said Loehrkey. "You guys got to work hard in North Carolina to get your laws changed. Four years for anybody on something like this is way too long."

Christina Smith's family and friends filled the first two rows of seats in the courtroom. They sat and listened as both Richard Smith, and Kvapil were sentenced to life in prison with no parole. Neither man showed any emotion during the proceedings.

Christina Smith's company commander said she felt betrayed after she initially comforted Richard Smith in the first few hours after his wife's death.

"When you embrace somebody like that and then find out 24 hours later they were in fact the ones that took the life of your friend, that's very difficult to deal with sometimes," said Maj. Monique Guerrero

Now she and Christina Smith's father have one last mission. They plan to visit Arlington National Cemetery where Christina Smith is buried and tell her justice has finally been served.

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cumberland county, homicide, local/state, greg barnes
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