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John Smith murdered his first wife Janice Hartman and is suspected of having killed his second wife Betty Fran Gladden-Smith

john smith mugshot
John Smith murdered at least one wife and possibly killed another and several other women

John Smith murdered his first wife Janice Hartman and then possibly turned his deadly attentions to his second wife Betty Fran Gladden-Smith, Extreme Measures examines the case.

West Windsor Township, New Jersey, on October 4, 1991, and Betty Fran Gladden-Smith went missing and was never seen alive again.

Her husband, John Smith, went on to marry again, but justice for his second wife was a long time in coming.

However, Gladden-Smith’s family never gave up and in October 2000 there was a break, when Smith was arrested for the murder of his first wife Janice Hartman.

The pair had married in 1970, when they were just 19, but by 1974 Hartman was looking for a divorce. Just a few days later she went missing and Smith was observed by his brother Michael building a box for her belongings.

Janice Hartman and then killed his second wife Betty Fran Gladden-Smith
Janice Hartman and Betty Fran Gladden-Smith (whose body has never been found)

Years later Michael opened the box and found some dismembered body parts inside, which he assumed belonged to Hartman. Michael told his brother John, who removed it. Michael then decided to stay quiet about his discovery and it was only in 1999 that he reported its existence to the FBI, who managed to track it down.

Smith was found guilty of murder and given a 15 to life term in prison.

However, Gladden-Smith’s family brought a civil case against him and in 2002 a judge ruled that Smith was responsible for the death of his second wife as well.

He made an appeal against his conviction or Hartman’s murder, but this was rejected in 2002.

Extreme Measures: Oh Mother, Where Art Thou? airs at 10:00 PM on Investigation Discovery.

James has worked for Monsters and Critics since it started back in 2003. He oversees the business and technical side of things. You can contact... read more
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