24-year-old Dwight L Smith, of the 200 block of W. 36th Street, is charged with two counts of Murder 1st Degree and one count of Kidnapping 1st Degree in the death of Marsha Lee.
The suspect's father and his family are devastated at a time when they were supposed to be celebrating their son coming home from Afghanistan for the holidays.
Smith Jr. and his wife arrived in Wilmington on Saturday.
Just days later, things would take an unexpected and horrific turn as Smith did something inexplicable when he allegedly murdered 65-year-old Lee, who simply went to walk her dog.
The suspect's father spoke with Action News.
"I'm not just grieving for my son, there was a tragedy for both families. That's where my mind and my heart is now. It's not just feeling for me, but for that family as well," said Dwight Smith Sr.
Investigators say Smith Jr. told them that "he clicked on" and wanted to kill someone.
He claimed that he ran Lee over with his hummer, beat her and then dumped her body in a lot off Rockwood Road.
A witness alerted authorities of suspicions. An officer spotted the SUV a short time later and Smith was taken in for questioning.
After conducting a series of interviews and search warrants on Smith's residence and vehicle, police say they gathered enough information and evidence to press charges against him.
How could this happen and why is still a matter for investigators to unravel.
Smith's father says his son suffered a head injury back in April during an attack on his unit in Afghanistan. A number of his colleagues perished in the attack.
"He flat lined, but they brought him back. So he was still taking medicines and things to help him cope with the pain even to his day," said the suspect's dad.
Smith who received the Purple Heart among other medals for his service in Iraq and Afghanistan, thinks his son may have suffered some form of post traumatic stress syndrome related to his injuries.
"These kids coming home nowadays from these wars, I don't think they're prepared to actually indoctrinate themselves right back into the everyday life of living," he said.
Action News reached out the victim's family for comment but through a family friend they politely declined.
Marsha Lee's funeral is set for 1:00 p.m. Thursday at Temple Beth Emeth in Wilmington.
Smith was arraigned and committed to Howard R. Young Correctional Facility where he is being held without bail.