Man gets life for killing intern

November 24, 2008 5:10:31 PM PST
A suburban Philadelphia businessman who strangled a company intern after the man resisted a rape attempt should get life without parole, a jury decided Monday. Prosecutors had sought the death penalty for William Smithson, 43, of Glen Mills.

"We are extremely pleased with the jury's finding of guilt in this case and accept their determination that the defendant should be sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole," Delaware County District Attorney G. Michael Green said in a statement.

Smithson was convicted Friday of first-degree murder, attempted rape, kidnapping, drug and other charges. The body of Jason Kyle Shephard, 23, was found in Smithson's home in September 2006.

Shephard was an avid runner from Cavalier, N.D., a small town near the Canadian border, who was studying sports marketing. He had taken a semester off from Northern State University in Aberdeen, S.D., to work at Daktronics, a scoreboard manufacturer.

Shephard met Smithson, a supervisor for Daktronics, when Shephard visited the Pennsylvania office on a summer 2006 business trip. He returned in September 2006 to give a product demonstration.

Defense lawyer G. Guy Smith tried to blame the crime on another man who supplied drugs to Smithson and who lied to police about when he left Smithson's home the night of the killing.

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