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UPDATE: Frazier Sentenced to 40 Years for Girlfriend's Murder

By: WSAZ News Staff Email
By: WSAZ News Staff Email

UPDATE 10/2/13 @10:20 a.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Guilty for the second time, and sentenced for a second time.

Last month, Robert Frazier was convicted of second degree murder for the shooting death of Kathy Smith back in 2008.

Wednesday morning, Judge Alfred Ferguson sentenced Frazier to 40 years in prison for the killing.

This is the second time Frazier has been sentenced to 40 years for Smith’s death.

Frazier was convicted of the same charge in 2010, but the conviction and sentence was overturned by the West Virginia Supreme Court and a new trial was ordered.

Judge Ferguson told Frazier prior to sentencing that he never saw any remorse by Frazier during either trial.

William Smith is the uncle of Kathy Smith and addressed the court Wednesday.

He said that this was a cruel act and that Frazier could have walked out the front door instead of killing Kathy.



UPDATE 9/20/13 @ 3:30 p.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A man has been found guilty of second degree murder, for the second time.

A jury in Huntington found Robert Frazier guilty Friday afternoon. They had the case for nearly two hours.

Frazier was convicted of the same charged in 2010, for killing Kathy Smith in Guyandotte in 2008.

He was sentenced to 40 years in prison, but the conviction was overturned by the West Virginia Supreme Court and a new trial was ordered.

No word on a new sentencing at this time.



b>UPDATE 9/20/13 @ 12:20 p.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Jury deliberations in a murder retrial will begin after lunch.

The jury received the case against Robert Frazier around 12:20 Friday afternoon. They decided to take a lunch break and start deliberating around 1:30 p.m.

Frazier is on trial for a second time in Cabell County for the murder of his girlfriend, Kathy Smith. She was shot to death at a home in Guyandotte in 2008.

He was found guilty by a jury in 2010 of second degree murder.

Frazier was sentenced to 40 years in prison, but the conviction was overturned by the West Virginia Supreme Court and a new trial was ordered.

He testified in his own defense Friday morning saying he and Smith got into a fight the day of the shooting, she grabbed a gun, they struggled over it and it went off. "I don't know how it went off, my finger wasn't on the trigger.

Frazier says it had to be an accident and he had no intention to kill Kathy.

We have a crew in the courtroom. Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.



UPDATE 9/20/13 @ 10:45 a.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A man who is being retried in a murder case took the stand in his defense Friday.

Robert Frazier is on trial for a second time in Cabell County for the murder of his girlfriend, Kathy Smith. She was shot to death at a home in Guyandotte in 2008.

He was found guilty by a jury in 2010 of second degree murder.

Frazier was sentenced to 40 years in prison, but the conviction was overturned by the West Virginia Supreme Court and a new trial was ordered.

Friday, Frazier took the stand. He testified that he had been arguing with Smith the day she was shot. He said after they argued, she told him. "I'll show you," walked into the bedroom and grabbed a shotgun.

Frazier testified that the two struggled over the gun and it went off. "I don't know how it went off, my finger wasn't on the trigger."

Frazier says it had to be an accident and he had no intention to kill Smith.

The defense rested after Frazier's testimony.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 9/18/13 @ 10:35 a.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A key witness testified Wednesday morning in a murder case stemming back to 2008.

Robert Frazier is being retried in Cabell County for the murder of his girlfriend, Kathy Smith. She was shot to death at a home in Guyandotte in 2008.

He was found guilty by a jury in 2010 of second degree murder.

Frazier was sentenced to 40 years in prison, but the conviction was overturned by the West Virginia Supreme Court and a new trial was ordered.

Joshua Jackson was in the house the day of the murder. He took the stand on Wednesday and said, "I went in and they was arguing and she walked in the room and he said I'll (expletive) show you (expletive) and grabbed the gun and walked around the corner and I heard a gun shot."

During the first trial both the prosecution and the defense stated the argument started over drugs.

The trial has proceeded faster than expected, according to Judge Alfred Ferguson and will most likely be postponed on Thursday, as a key medical examiner is not available until Friday.

The trial is expected to resume Friday and possibly go to the jury.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.



UPDATE 9/17/13 @ 11:15 a.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- For a second time, jury selection has begun for a Huntington man charged with murder.

In July 2010, a Cabell County jury found Robert Frazier guilty of second-degree murder in the shooting death of Kathy Smith.

The shooting happened in August 2008 at a home in Guyandotte.

Frazier was sentenced to a maximum of 40 years in prison, but the conviction was reversed by the W.Va. Supreme Court and a new trial ordered in November 2012.

The court ruled that Judge Alfred Ferguson made an error by allowing the Chief Medical Examiner to testify about the autopsy in place of the doctor who performed it. The doctor who performed the autopsy had been terminated two months prior to the trial.

Frazier’s second trial is also taking place before Judge Ferguson in Cabell County Circuit Court.

The trial is expected to last three days.

Prosecutors said Frazier took a shotgun into the bedroom of a home along Richmond Street. He fired one shot, hitting Smith in the face and killing her.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 4/30/13 @ 11:00 a.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) – A new trial date has been set for the Huntington man whose murder conviction was reversed by the W.Va. Supreme Court of Appeals.

In July 2010, a Cabell County jury found Robert Frazier guilty of second-degree murder in the shooting death of Kathy Smith.

In November 2012, the high court ordered the new trial.

The court ruled that Judge Alfred Ferguson made an error by allowing Dr. James Kaplan, the Chief Medical Examiner for W.Va., to testify about the autopsy in the place of the doctor who performed it. That doctor, Dr. Richard Belding, had been terminated two months prior to the start of the trial.

During Tuesday’s hearing in Cabell County Circuit Court, Ferguson set Frazier’s new trial for July 23.

The shooting happened in August 2008 at a home in Guyandotte.

Prosecutors said Frazier took a shotgun into the bedroom of a home along Richmond Street. He fired one shot, hitting Smith in the face and killing her.

Frazier was sentenced to a maximum of 40 years in prison with credit for time served.



UPDATE 11/26/12 @ 11:15 a.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The W.Va. Supreme Court of Appeals has overturned the murder conviction of a Huntington man.

In July 2010, a Cabell County jury found Robert Frazier guilty of second-degree murder in the shooting death of Kathy Smith.

The shooting happened in August 2008 at a home in Guyandotte.

Prosecutors said Frazier took a shotgun into the bedroom of a home along Richmond Street. He fired one shot, hitting Smith in the face and killing her.

Frazier was sentenced to a maximum of 40 years in prison with credit for time served.

The Supreme Court released its 4 to 1 ruling on Wednesday. The court ordered that Frazier’s conviction be reversed and a new trial ordered.

The court ruled that Judge Alfred Ferguson made an error by allowing Dr. James Kaplan, the Chief Medical Examiner for W.Va., to testify about the autopsy in the place of the doctor who performed it. That doctor, Dr. Richard Belding, had been terminated two months prior to the start of the trial.

No word on when a new trial will be set.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 8/17/10 @ 10:40 a.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The Huntington man convicted of killing his girlfriend learned his prison sentence Tuesday.

In July, a Cabell County jury found Robert Frazier guilty of second degree murder in the shooting death of Kathy Smith.

The shooting happened in August 2008 at a home in Guyandotte.

Prosecutors said Frazier took a shotgun into the bedroom of a home along Richmond Street. He fired one shot, hitting Smith in the face and killing her.

During the trial, both sides said it all started as a drug-induced argument.

During Tuesday’s hearing, Judge Alfred Ferguson sentenced Frazier to a maximum of 40 years in prison. Frazier was given credit for time served.

Ferguson said he gave Frazier that sentence due to the gruesome nature of the shooting.

Ferguson said that if the jury had seen a picture Smith’s face following the shooting, they would have convicted Frazier of 1st degree murder.

A member of Smith’s family addressed the court before the final sentence was pronounced.

Before being sentenced, Frazier‘s attorney made a motion asking for a new trial for his client. Ferguson denied that motion.

UPDATE 7/12/10 @ 8:45 p.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A jury found Robert Frazier guilty late Monday afternoon of second-degree murder in the death of his girlfriend.

Frazier was convicted of grabbing a shotgun and shooting Kathy Smith in the face last summer -- killing her.

It was a case involving drugs, domestic violence and a deadly shotgun blast -- a triple threat seen all too often these days.

The shooting goes back to August 2008 in the Guyandotte community of Huntington. Both sides said it all started as a drug-induced argument.

After four days of evidence and testimony, there was a very cold verdict reaction. There was not a move from Frazier after the verdict was read.

Evidence showed the 43-year-old Frazier was a drug dealer and user who became angry, then violent with Smith, his 53-year-old live-in girlfriend.

Prosecutors said Frazier took a shotgun into the bedroom of a home along Richmond Street. He fired one shot, hitting Smith in the face and killing her.

Frazier told wildly different stories to police about what happened. He never called 911 and fled the scene.

Prosecutors say the verdict sends a message -- that this community will not tolerate drug abuse and, in general, will not tolerate domestic violence that ends tragically as this one did.

Before the trial, Frazier was offered a plea deal of second-degree murder. He turned that down, yet that's the same charge the jury returned a guilty verdict.

First and second-degree murder both require malice, but second-degree murder is decided without deliberation or premeditation by the assailant.

The second difference is in the sentence -- first-degree murder can bring life in prison. Frazier's second-degree sentence allows the judge to decide on up to 40 years behind prison walls.

That sentencing decision will come in mid-August.



UPDATE 7/12/10 @ 2:05 p.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The defense and the prosecution have given their closing arguments and the case has been handed over to the jury.

The panel of 12 jurors received their instructions and were sent to make a decision in the Frazier murder trial about 2 p.m. Monday.

WSAZ.com has a crew in the courtroom and we will post the verdict as soon as the jury returns their decision.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information on the Frazier murder trial.



UPDATE 7/12/10 @ 11:20 a.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The fourth day of the Robert Frazier murder trial resumed Monday at 9 a.m. in Judge Alfred Ferguson's courtroom.

The defense called expert witnesses in blood splatter and forensics to help explain the was Frazier says everything happened between he and Kathy Smith.

Following the witnesses testimony, both the defense and prosecutors rested and took a recess until noon.

When court resumes at noon closing arguments will begin. The prosecution will present their argument first and then Frazier's attorneys will have their chance.

Following closing statements, jurors will receive their instructions and will begin the process of deciding the fate of Robert Frazier.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest on the murder trial.



UPDATE 7/9/10 @ 10:45 p.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The third day of a murder trial in Huntington brought more damaging testimony to defendant Robert Frazier on Friday.

Robert Frazier is accused of grabbing a shotgun and shooting his girlfriend Kathy Smith in the face last summer -- killing her.

Witness Josh Jackson said he saw the gun next to Frazier, heard the two arguing, then heard Frazier threaten Smith before the gun was fired.

Frazier's attorney tried to paint Jackson as an unreliable and confused witness.

Frazier originally blamed someone else for the murder. He later changed his story, claiming he accidentally shot Smith.

Closing arguments are expected Monday.



UPDATE 7/8/10 @ 12:45 p.m..
HUNTINGTON, W.Va (WSAZ) -- The Robert Frazier murder trial resumed Thursday at 9 a.m. in Judge Alfred Ferguson’s courtroom.

Detective Chris Sperry with the Huntington Police Department took the stand and played a taped interview with Robert Frazier about the night of the incident. In the 30 minute tape Frazier initially placed the blame on Joshua Jackson, saying Jackson was the one who shot Kathy Smith. Eventually Frazier admitted to Detective Sperry that he fought with Kathy Smith for control of the shotgun and it went off, shooting Smith in the face.

The defense argued that Kathy Smith actually started the argument because she was angry with a drug deal that was going on in the home. Frazier’s lawyers say that Smith was so angry that she left the room, grabbed and loaded the gun and threatened Frazier.

The hearing went to recess for lunch and is scheduled to resume at 1:30 p.m.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information on the murder trial.



UPDATE 7/7/10 @ 6 p.m..
HUNTINGTON, W.Va (WSAZ) -- The final pool of 20 potential jurors was narrowed down to a panel of 12 jurors who will sit on the murder trial for Robert Frazier.

Shortly before 3 p.m. Judge Alfred Ferguson called for a recess to allow the lawyers to choose the final panel of 12.

About 3:30 p.m. the lawyers and Judge Ferguson returned to the courtroom, informed the jurors of their responsibilities and the began the trial.

Jurors heard opening statements by both the Prosecutor's office and Frazier's defense attorneys.

"It is amazing how a defendant can make a choice in a matter of seconds that affects multiple lives forever," said Jara Howard with the Cabell County Prosecutor's Office.

"All Robert Frazier tried to do was defend himself, and Kathy started this mess," said Jason Goad, defense attorney for Frazier.

The prosecution began calling expert witnesses to give testimony in their case against Frazier. Dr. James Kaplan testified to about the autopsy that was done on Kathy Smith following her being shot. Kaplan testified that she had been shot, close range, with a shot gun blast to the face.

Dr. Kaplan was followed by expert witnesses from the West Virginia State Police Crime Lab that specialize in weapons and gun shot residue.

A sticking point by the defense was the timeline of transferring the evidence to the crime lab.

"So it took the Huntington Police Department one year and eight months to transfer the gun shot residue test kits to your facility," asked defense attorney Kim Carico. "Yes ma'am, it did," answered Corine Powers, Forensic Specialist with the W.Va. State Police Crime Lab.

After hearing opening statements and testimony from three witnesses Judge Ferguson excused the jurors for the evening.

The trial is set to continue Thursday in Judge Ferguson's courtroom at 9 a.m.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for continuing coverage of Frazier's murder trial.



UPDATE 7/7/10 @ 4:00 p.m..
HUNTINGTON, W.Va (WSAZ) -- A jury has been seated and opening arguments completed in Robert Frazier's murder trial.

The jury of 12 men and women was seated around 3 p.m. Opening arguments then began after a short recess.

The prosecution then called their first witness.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for continuing coverage of Frazier's murder trial.



UPDATE 7/7/10 @ 2:00 p.m..
HUNTINGTON, W.Va (WSAZ) -- . "I honestly don't remember the last time I had to do this," Judge Alfred Ferguson said Wednesday afternoon while calling for a recess.

The murder trial for Robert Frazier began Wednesday in Cabell County, but hit a few bumps along the way.

A pool of 32 potential jurors were called, yet only 24 appeared in the courtroom.

The missing 8 people caused jury selection to be delayed for a few hours.

When the court returned from the recess, 6 additional potential jurors were in attendance.

Judge Ferguson continued with the questioning of the potential jurors in order to create a jury panel of 12 to decide a just verdict in Frazier's murder trial.

Following questioning of the potential jurors, a panel will be selected and opening arguments are scheduled to begin Wednesday afternoon.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest developments on this case.



UPDATE 7/7/10 @ 1:00 p.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A lack of jurors is slowing jury selection in a Cabell County murder trial.

Only 24 of 32 potential jurors showed up for Robert Frazier's trial.

Court officials are now trying to contact the missing 8 jurors.

Jury selection is scheduled to resume at 1:30 p.m.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for updated information.



UPDATE 7/7/10 @ 9:30 a.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A man accused of killing his girlfriend is finally getting his day in court.

Jury selection began Wednesday morning in the murder trial for Robert Frazier.

Prosecutors say that in August 2008, Frazier shot and killed his girlfriend, Kathy Smith, at his home in Guyandotte.

At the time, investigators said the couple had a history of domestic violence, and that friends warned her about the danger.

Prosecutors tell WSAZ.com that they've offered Frazier a plea deal,but he never accepted.

The trial which has been delayed numerous times is taking place in Cabell County Circuit Court.

Opening arguments are expected to start Wednesday afternoon.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for updated information.



UPDATE 11/3/09 @ 10:25 a.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) --It will now be December before a Huntington man goes on trial for allegedly killing his girlfriend.

During a hearing Tuesday morning, Robert Frazier's murder trial was reset for December 8th.

Police say Frazier shot and killed Kathy Smith at his home on Richmond Street in the Guyandotte area of Huntington in August 2008.

The latest delay is for the completion of ballistics testing.

The trial was scheduled to start Tuesday.



UPDATE 4/7/09 @10:30 a.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A judge has postponed the murder trial of a Huntington man charged with killing his girlfriend.

During a hearing this morning in Cabell County Circuit Court, Robert Frazier's trial was reset for June 2. The trial was supposed to start on April 17th.

The latest delay was over the selection of an expert witness which has been resolved.

Prosecutors say they have offered Frazier a plea deal; it would be life with mercy if he accepts.



ORIGINAL STORY 2/24/09
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- An April 17th trial date was set for a Huntington man charged with killing his girlfriend.

Police say the Robert Frazier shot and killed Kathy Smith at his home on Richmond Street in the Guyandotte area of Huntington back in August.

Frazier was arrested a short time later at a nearby gas station.

Police say Frazier and Smith lived together and had a history of domestic violence.

Frazier was indicted on the murder charge last month. The trial date was set during a pretrial hearing in Cabell County Circuit Court Tuesday morning.


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