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Mandy Lemaire, 11, was raped and murdered but suspect never faced retrial | Vanished in Alaska

Charles Smithart
Charles Smithart, who died while awaiting retrial for Mandy’s kidnap, rape and murder

Mandy Lemaire was just 11 when she was kidnapped in broad daylight before being raped and murdered in Tazlina, Alaska.

Two years later local resident Charles Smithart, whose truck was said to have been spotted near where Mandy’s body was found, was sentenced to 114 years in prison after being found guilty of first-degree murder, sexual assault and kidnapping.

His conviction was reportedly helped by globules of iron found on Mandy’s clothing, which are only created in particular conditions like welding — something which Smithart engaged in.

Two blonde hairs matching Mandy’s were also said to have been found in his truck, while matching carpet fibers were reportedly found both on her clothing and in his truck.

However, he and his family always maintained his innocence and in 1999 the Alaska Supreme Court overturned his conviction and ordered a retrial.

It came about after they found his trial defence team had not been given enough leeway to point the finger at another man who was a key witness for the prosecution and was one of the people who said he saw Smithart’s truck near the scene following Mandy’s murder.

Smithart remained in prison after his conviction was overturned but never faced a retrial after he died of lung cancer in December 2000 — which according to Alaskan law meant that the charges against him were dismissed.

Mandy was kidnapped in August 1991 while walking along a road near her home. Her body was discovered ten days later after she’d been shot in the head twice.

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The case features in documentary Vanished in Alaska, which airs at 10/9c on Investigation Discovery tonight.

Julian is the editor of Monsters & Critics. He has worked as a...read more

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  1. Saw this case years ago and felt the guy was probably innocent. Then you have a judge and a prosecutor conspire to keep the defense from putting on evidence. If they were so sure of his guilt what were they afraid of? There is testimony that should not come in for various reasons, but in this case after the conviction the Alaska Supreme Court easily overturned that conviction. This case reminds me of a case I saw just a few days ago. I watched it after hearing about it on C-SPAN when they were doing Landmark Cases In the U.S. Supreme Court. It was the case of an inmate named Gideon serving time after being convicted without a lawyer. A movie was made about the case,”Gideon’s Trumpet”. The individual, a known criminal, who pointed the finger at Gideon seems to me to be the person who did the crime. Along with some friends he could not remember their names. But the judge,prosecutor, police, and jury bought his tale hook, line, and sinker. Gideon prevailed in his second trial. What do criminals do? You know the one who pointed the finger at Smithart. They break into peoples cars and workshops and if there is material that easily transfers on to someone it will transfer onto them, and that will transfer onto someone else if they commit a crime.

    Reply
    • I don’t know enough about this case to go one way or another. However, if this dude was helping kids with their bikes like the Forensic Files said, who’s to say she didn’t ride in his truck and get the particles transferred onto her clothing and he dropped her off somewhere without touching her? They never found the gun, did they test for powder residue on him? Did they do a rape kit test and compare DNA to him? There are things that don’t make sense in this case, and if he was actually innocent, that means the killer / pedo rapist is still out there.

      Reply
      • He sexually assaulted/raped his own daughters numerous times in their preteen years. His oldest daughter came forward with this information. I believe that is proof enough. Even if he wasn’t Mandy’s killer, karma came back around as punishment for the vile acts he committed against his own children.

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