ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A third trial has begun for a man accused of killing and dismembering a Kenai Peninsula couple nine years ago, then dumping their remains in the deep water off Homer.
Opening statements were heard Thursday in state Superior Court in Anchorage in the trial of Billy Dean Smith. Smith's first trial, in Kenai, ended in a mistrial when a witness mentioned he had taken a lie detector test, information that had been ruled inadmissible.
The second, after a venue change to Anchorage, ended after seven days of deliberation with the jury hung 8-4 for conviction. Jurors found Smith guilty of three felony evidence tampering charges, which he admitted. But they could not agree on whether Smith shot Nancy Bellamy and Harold Enzler to death in March 1994 or whether one of two other men present that night actually pulled the trigger.
Both men admit they were there when Enzler, 36, and Bellamy, 42, died, but said they thought it was a simple drug transaction and had no idea Smith planned to shoot anyone. Both were originally charged as accomplices but made deals with the state and served short prison sentences.
Years passed after Enzler and Bellamy disappeared and the case remained unsolved. No bodies were ever found and no arrests were made until Smith confessed in 1997. Smith's attorney told jurors Thursday that confession was a lie.
The trial is expected to take three weeks.
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