A federal grand jury indicts former Harrisburg attorney, 76 year old William Trickett Smith, senior with attempting to arrange a prison escape, lying to federal agents about it, and trying to persuade someone else to lie to federal agents.
The charges stem from events surrounding the arrest and extradition of Smith’s son, William Trickett Smith, II. In 2007, the son, Smith, II, was arrested in Pennsylvania and charged in Peru with the murder of his wife, Jana Claudia Gomez Menendez. Her dismembered body was discovered in a suitcase that washed up on a Lima, Peru beach. Peruvian authorities sought Smith II’s extradition. He eventually plead guilty and accepted a 35 year prison sentence.
The indictment alleges that during 2009 and 2010, Smith, Sr., devised a plan to have his son escape from custody after Smith, Sr., filed a false private cirminal complaint by paying off a magisterial district justice to scheudle a hearing that would require Smith II, to transported and paying off a constable who would be picked to transport him. The indictment alleges that when the plan failed because the criminal com0laint was not approved by the district attorney, Smith Sr., then allegedly devised another plan for his son’s escape by paying off a prison guard. That plan also failed because Smith II was moved to a different prison. The indictment alleges Smith Sr., lied about his plans and actions when questioned by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and also tried to persuade another individual to lie to the FBI about Smith Sr.’s actions.
If convicted Smith faces a sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison.