THE DAY OF THE MURDER
It is 11.30 on the morning of June 23, 1981. The plains of Lubbock, Texas, are already at 104 degrees. Around the world all minds are on a bombing in Iran, while President Ronald Reagan is jousting with their leaders. McEnroe is being fined for his tennis court manners, and it is the last day in the life of 19 year old Jimmie Sue Smith. She is dressed in a yellow top and yellow slacks. The wind is blowing her hair back and frames her face as if to give her Mother one final living glimpse of her.
Nineteen years later, when we interview her mother, she will recall that look. Two hours pass while mother and daughter eat lunch, shop, and finally wave goodbye. In a last-minute attempt to perhaps protect her in some way, her mother asks Jimmie Sue to stay with her and go back with her to work at the church. Jimmie Sue wants to get home and lie in the sun. Sun bathing was a rare pleasure for the girl that held down two jobs and attended Texas Tech University.
Jimmie Sue enters the small bungalow-style house in an area close to the university. She telephones a friend and asks her to come over and lie in the sun with her. It is now 2:30 in the afternoon. The girlfriend arrives at 3:30, but there is no answer at the door. She looks in the window and sees Jimmie’s purse on the bed. She is not in the backyard, so the girl leaves. It is around 3:35 in the afternoon.
To view the composite of the suspect
from 6-23-81 click here
The hammock is hanging loose, and Jimmie Sue’s bathing suit top is lying underneath. The suntan oil is close by with the lid off. A phone sits in the window so she can hear any calls that might come in. On the kitchen counter is a roll of tape and an open Band-Aid box with Band-Aids scattered about. We will later learn that Jimmie Sue has a cut on her elbow. “It felt strange for the door to be locked,” says her mother, who arrived home at five o’clock. There is no sign of a struggle, and in the girls room are her purse, watch and her diamond ring. In the bathroom adjacent to the master bedroom is an un flushed toilet with feces in it but no paper. (We have seen this at crime scenes many times before. Police and profilers all say it is a killer leaving his mark). At the edge of the bed, which is turned back, with the pillow missing, is the bottom to her bathing suit. When her mother picks it up, she notices that it is wet (with urine) and rolled in an unusual manner. She immediately knows something is wrong. On the bed is a pair of Jimmie’s stepfather’s slacks with the belt pulled out and lying on top of them. Her mother thinks this also is unusual. In the walk-in closet is Jimmie Sue’s body, nude, with a necktie around her throat. Her feet and hands are bound with neckties. A pillow is placed over her chest.
The killer had fired a twenty-two pistol six times through a towel and a pillow. The necktie around her throat would indicate a possible strangling but could have been a gag that slipped down. Newspapers all reported that she was strangled, but we can’t be sure of this because the 19-year-old autopsy needs to be located and reviewed.
A burnt orange VW was seen in the driveway the afternoon of the murder, and had had also been seen driving by the house several times. A composite drawing of the suspect is shown below. (Composite can also be seen in the
Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, July 23 edition). Jimmie had been upset about a boy with whom she had a blind date. She felt as though he were following her, but she didn’t say his name. She had argued the night before with a boy at a restaurant and had struck out at him.
PROFILE OF THE KILLER
This profile is the opinion of Charlie Parker, president of Unsolved Crimes. It does not represent the view of the police or any other individual:
· The murder took place in broad daylight. That tells me the killer felt comfortable in the neighborhood. His dress, mannerisms, race, and auto would not seem out of place.
· The killer entered the house through the alley and over the fence. I, as a stranger, drove that area, and the alley was not easily noticeable to me. That tells me that the killer was familiar with the area.
· There was no sign of a struggle inside the house. This is typically found in situations where the attacker is known to the victim. In the beginning of the assault, Jimmie Sue probably dealt with her attacker only verbally, most likely attempting to negotiate.
· There appeared to be somewhat of a struggle at the hammock area, which sat over the metal entrance to the cellar. I believe the killer made advances at the hammock, and a scuffle ensued, causing the girl to fall and cut her elbow on the metal surface. I was told by detective Ashmore, now retired, that he saw no drag marks from the hammock and no drag marks on the body. If the killer showed compassion and allowed Jimmy Sue to look for Band-Aids for her elbow, that could explain the first-aid items on the counter.
· By placing her in the closet, the killer shows me that he knew Jimmie Sue. This is similar to killers who cover the bodies of their victims.
· Rejection, which I believe to be the motive, took place in the house.
· Remember the bottoms to her swimsuit were on the floor at the edge of the bed. Remember also that her feet and hands were bound with neckties. Does it sound likely that the killer would have raped her, then killed her, and then retied her feet?
· The killer has staged the crime scene, making it look like some mad deviate necktie-fetish killer has committed the crime. In 1981, Lubbock was averaging a rape a day and already had 17 murders by June 19. Jimmie Sue’s killer could have gotten plenty of ideas by simply reading the local newspaper.
· This is a solvable murder. DNA testing did not exist in 1981. I was told by one of the retired officers that sperm was taken during the autopsy.
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Originally posted at UnsolvedCrimes.com