July 19, 2024

Buckeye man gets 10 years for wife’s death

John Elwyn Smith pleaded guilty June 1 and was sentenced by a Maricopa County Superior Court judge to 10-and-a-half years for reckless manslaughter in the April 9, 2020, murder of his wife Jill Kay Smith.

According to Buckeye Police Department records, then-72-year-old Smith called 911 just before 5:30 p.m. saying he killed his wife while she was sleeping and planned to kill himself. He told dispatchers that they were elderly and “health issues had been weighing on them.” 

When BPD arrived on scene at their Sun City Festival home near Horsham Drive and Canyon Springs Boulevard, Smith was unarmed and waiting outside the home. He was taken into custody. Jill Kay Smith, 69, was found on the bed in the primary bedroom with “obvious gunshot wounds.” She was pronounced dead on scene.

When interviewed by police, Smith said he killed his wife because of “health and financial burdens.” He was charged at that time with one count of first-degree murder and booked into Maricopa County 4th Avenue Jail.

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