William Smithson faced an unsympathetic
crowd in a packed Pennsylvania courtroom yesterday where prosecutors
are accusing him of strangling to death a company intern in his
Delaware County home, reports The Philadelphia Daily News.
Smithson, 43, drugged Jason Shepard
with GHB – the date rape drug – attempted to violate him and
ultimately strangled him to death when he resisted, prosecutors
William Smithson is a gay man who
frequently hosted gay sex parties which featured pornography, crystal
meth and GHB.
Jason Shepard, 23, a sports marketing
major at South Dakota college, was interning at Smithson's office in
Edgmont, a suburb of Philadelphia, in 2006 when he was found dead in
Smithson's basement by police.
“This person killed Jason Shepard
over what?,” Thomas Lawrie, an assistant Delaware County prosecutor
asked the jury. “Over his desire to have sex with this young man.”
Defense attorney G. Guy Smith said
Smithson was not guilty of murder and claimed a third man was in the
house that night, and is responsible for the murder. Fen Bruce
Covington, 58, originally lied to police about his whereabouts that
night and also faces charges for allegedly drugging and raping a man
in his own apartment in February.
Lindsay Patterson, an ex-girlfriend who
dated Shepard for two years, testified that he was a conservative
Midwesterner who “never” did drugs and was “uncomfortable”
around gay men.
Daniel Hall testified he received a
frantic call on Sept. 19, 2006 from ex-boyfriend Smithson and drove
from Virginia to pacify him. The dead body of Jason Shepard lay in
The next day, Smithson filed a
missing-persons report on Shepard with police.
But it was ex-boyfriend Hall who two
days later would call police and tell them what he knew. Shepard's
lifeless body was found in the early stages of decomposition in
Smithson's basement, wrapped in sheets and bound by belts.
The Pennsylvania trial continues.