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Drum soldier is suspect in kidnapping, murder

Dec. 22, 2011 - 10:37AM   |   Last Updated: Dec. 22, 2011 - 10:37AM  |  
Dwight L. Smith was charged with kidnapping and murder.
Dwight L. Smith was charged with kidnapping and murder. (Via The (Wilmington, Del.) News Journal)
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WILMINGTON, Del. The man charged with abducting and killing a woman Monday after running her over in his SUV is an active-duty soldier on leave from his unit at Fort Drum, N.Y., officials said.

Dwight L. Smith Jr., 24, remains on active duty, Fort Drum spokeswoman Julie Cupernall said. He is a member of the 3rd Battalion of the 6th Field Artillery.

Cupernall said Smith is on leave, but said its reason and duration are private information.

"He's on leave," Cupernall said. "It wasn't holiday leave."

Cupernall said the leave wasn't a form of punishment, saying, "Soldiers are not disciplined with time off."

She would not comment on the murder case against Smith.

According to police and court documents, Smith confessed to the murder of 65-year-old Marsha Lee, who was struck by a vehicle, kidnapped and killed Monday. Lee was walking her dog near her home in Wilmington's Brandywine Hills neighborhood about 9 a.m. Her body was found hours later in a nearby Delaware Department of Transportation maintenance yard.

Police called the incident a random attack. A DuPont Co. retiree, Lee worked part time at the Delaware Humane Association and volunteered at Congregation Beth Emeth and the Milton & Hattie Kutz Home. She was married and has two daughters. Her funeral will take place today.

According to Smith's Facebook page, he attended Concord High School and was a member of the Class of 2006 at Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical and Mechanical University. He joined the Army in July 2006 and arrived at Fort Drum in September.

Smith served in Iraq from September 2007 to November 2008 and in Afghanistan from May 2010 to April 2011. He was awarded the Purple Heart for injuries suffered in combat and earned 20 other medals and ribbons, Cupernall said. Smith's brother, Marcus Rogers, said Smith was hurt in battle in April and suffered from traumatic stress after the injury.

A public defender has been assigned to Smith's case. Smith is charged with first-degree murder and kidnapping. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for Tuesday in the Court of Common Pleas.

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