Murder Indictment Handed Down in Franklin County Cold Case

FRANKLIN COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – A major break in a Franklin County cold case:  John Donald Smith has been indicted in a murder that happened more than three decades ago.

Investigators got new tips from the public, which helped lead to murder charges.

Detectives say Smith got into a fight with Larry Graham and slit his throat.

Franklin County Sheriff Shannon Oliver says the tips along with advanced forensic technology led to the indictment.

“It’s very satisfying to know there`s still people willing to help solve crimes so we can get this somewhat closed,” said Sheriff Oliver.

Oliver says this case proves the right piece of evidence can help investigators fit the puzzle of clues together.  “I believe sometimes people seem to think after a case gets so old its forgotten about, but I want them to know we work on it.  We may run out of leads but eventually some of those leads may come back.”

Smith was already serving time in the Franklin County Jail accused of sodomy and sexual abuse, now he faces murder charges.

“There won`t be closure until the trial but it`s a huge accomplishment for the investigators,” said Sheriff Oliver.

During a bond hearing Wednesday afternoon, a judge issued an additional $500 thousand dollar bond for the murder charge.  Smith already had a $500,000 for the sex abuse charges.

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