Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Shooting on the Appalachian Trail

Wapiti Shelter, Giles County, Virginia

Luckily for two men in Southwestern Virginia, history did not repeat itself.

The Giles County Sheriff's Office conducted an investigation today into a double shooting that occurred Tuesday night. Both men survived the shooting despite wounds to the face and chest of one, and the back and neck of the second. The shooting occurred along the Appalachian Trail between Giles and Bland counties around the Dismal Creek area. Virginia State Police arrested Randall Lee Smith after he flipped a truck belonging to one of the victims not far from the shooting site.

In 1982, Smith pleaded guilty to the 1981 murders of two hikers on the Appalachian Trail. He shot Robert Mountford Jr. three times, stabbed Laura Susan Ramsay more than a dozen times as they slept in Wapiti Shelter and left their bodies in shallow, leaf-covered graves. He was given two consecutive 15-year sentences. A plea agreement halted the case just before it went to trial in Giles County. Smith was released from prison in 1996 and returned to Giles County to live with his mother, who later died in 2000. In late March, Smith was reported missing by a neighbor after he disappeared.

Smith's earlier case was the subject of a novel by Jess Carr, Murder on the Appalachian Trail.

Investigators say Appalachian Trail Killer tries to strike again


Eric Drummond Smith said...

Last night my brother called me and told me about the shooting - I was blown away, if for no other reason than Sean and I went to Graham High together (he's older than me, so I don't know him well, but he was always cordial enough with me when I ran into him). Godspeed to the victims here.

Folk Face said...

what a strange story. what possesses this Smith guy? is it just freak coincidence that both of these crimes occurred on the AT?

Deb Goodrich said...

I am horrified on so many levels. Number One, that this guy could commit such heinous crimes and be out so soon is absolutely inexcusable. (I used to cover court for local newspapers/radio in Surry County, NC/Carroll and Patrick Counties, VA. I love the trail, love Bland County, and to have this kind of publicity and violence in such a beautiful place just flat pisses me off!

Otherwise, you have absolutely the best blog going. Love it.

Deb Goodrich said...

I meant to say, and Giles County. Have ancestry there.

Mike said...

Well, this story took a strange turn on Saturday. Smith died in jail, in a medical ward. The initial reports tell of no signs of suicide but the autopsy should tell the whole truth.
The good news is that both victims have been released from the hospital.

Martin said...

Thanks so much for this article, quite useful piece of writing.
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