Motive still unclear in Frankfort’s first murder case in more than a decade

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UPDATE - A jury found Smith guilty of murder in September 2017. In October, he was sentenced to 50 years in prison.

FRANKFORT, Ind. (March 28, 2016) — Frankfort Police and the Clinton County Prosecutor's office are still gathering evidence in the county’s first murder case in more than a decade.

At approximately 7 p.m. Saturday, Frankfort police units were dispatched to the 700 block of W. Green Street. Upon arrival, officers found a 50-year-old female dead inside a house from an apparent gun shot wound. Officers were also able to identify a suspect who was still inside the house.

According to Chief Troy Bacon, “Officers were able to establish communications with the suspect. These communications resulted in the suspect peacefully exiting the residence. The suspect is currently being detained for questioning. This is very much an active investigation as detectives and crime scene investigators are processing the scene.”

The suspect, 56-year-old Keith Smith, was being held in the Clinton County jail on a preliminary charge of murder. Clinton County Prosecutor Anthony Sommer said it’s the first murder case to come across his desk since he took office.

“It’s relatively quiet and the crime rate is relatively low,” said Frankfort Police Chief Troy Bacon.  “So when something like this happens it does rattle us a little bit as a community.”

Monday afternoon, the Clinton County Coroner's office identified the victim as Lisa Smith, 50. Multiple family members and neighbors said the victim was the suspect's wife.

Her cause of death was ruled as exsanguination due to gunshot wound. Her manner of death was ruled a homicide.

“She was alright, you know what I mean, she was a good girl,” said Lisa Smith’s stepmother, Wilma Pippenger.  “I just don’t think anybody should die the way she went.”

Pippenger and others outside the home Monday said they had no idea what may have prompted the deadly violence.  Investigators were withholding information regarding possible motives as they continued to gather evidence for formal charges against Smith.

Keith Smith had been scheduled to appear in court Monday afternoon, but Sommer said he was requesting a 72-hour hold on the case to allow more time for evidence collecting.  More information should be available once formal charges are filed in the coming days.