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Cold Justice: Georgia man murdered at his computer

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When William Kirby Smith sat down at his computer the evening of March 7, 2004 he didn't realize he would be murdered where he sat, according to the Cold Justice episode which aired Friday, July 11, 2014. He was a popular man in the community of Columbus, Georgia who ran his own business and had no known enemies, according to Kelly Siegler, creator of the show on TNT.

"I'll translate for you the accents of the slow-talking people of Georgia," Kelly joked to her partner Yolanda McClary as they rolled into town in the TNT van.

McClary, who is a former Las Vegas Police Department detective, shot back, "I don't need any translations for the people in Georgia. I just need help with your Texas accent sometimes."

Smith was discovered lying on his back on the floor of his mechanic shop near his computer. He had been shot twice. One of the lead messengers of death entered the back of his skull and exited his face. He had $800 on him which led Siegler and McClary to conclude the motive for the execution was not robbery.

Siegler, who was a successful prosecutor in the Harris County District Attorney's Office, said that Smith raced cars in addition to working as a mechanic and was a popular person in the beautiful Geogia town. Who would want him dead?

Siegler mentioned that estranged wife Becky Smith Haynie who re-married only three months after her husband's slaughter was a person of interest. Becky was going through a nasty divorce involving a pre-nuptial agreement and a $250,000 life insurance policy.

Two men who had close relationships with Becky are also cast under the web of suspicion. Heath Haynie, who married Becky, and Bull Phillips, who watched Becky take baths, was a third suspect.

Siegler and McClary then took the TNT van to meet with two children of the victim. Daughter Heather Brooks and son Dustin visited with the former prosecutor and investigator.

Heather recalled in vivid detail how she first heard her dad was dead, saying, "I received a phone call at the dentist's office where I was working. It was Becky. She said, 'You're dad's dead."'

Heather remembered that at first she thought car wreck or some other sort of an accident. Her dad was so beloved in the community she couldn't conceive of him being murdered.

When she realized it was homicide, the first person she thought of was Becky.

Yolanda and the rest of the TNT team then trekked to the crime scene.

"I hope we can all fit in the office. I don't think it's a large area," she intoned as they traveled to the place where William Kirby Smith lived his last few moments on this earth.

Yolanda, who solved more crimes than Sherlock Holmes while working at LVPD, then analyzed the crime scene, saying, "The shooter comes in the door and Kirby is sitting at his computer. He fired the first shot into Kirby's back left shoulder.....the bullet penetrated his lungs and heart. The second shot was to the back of his head and came out his nostrils. Both wounds were contact which meant the gun was up against the body."

Yolanda and Kelly agreed it was an execution style shooting. The second shot was evidently to make sure he was dead.

The TNT team interviewed friend Randall Terry who remembered that "she (Becky) threatened to have him killed."

Another friend Frank Hicks opined, "It was a setup."

When they interview Heath he came across as believable to the TNT team. Heath said, "I thought she was involved with Bull. But I didn't kill Kirby. And I don't think Becky killed him either."

Kelly, who has analyzed many suspects during her days as a Houston prosecutor, concludes, "Becky is manipulative."

Siegler and McClary along with former Houston police homicide investigator Alan Brown then analyzed the sequence of events for the tragic night of the murder. According to their brainstorming session, Becky called Heath at 9:10 p.m., only ten minutes after Kirby was dead at 9 p.m. It is significant that Becky and Bull talked 29 times the day of the murder. Even more significant to the investigators is the fact Bull called Becky nine times from a pay phone between 9 and 9:15 p.m.

A friend Tina said of Bull, "He was her go-for. He babysat for her. Went to the grocery store for her."

Another witness said, "Bull is dumber than a door nail."

Becky's sister said, "Becky led Bull on. I mean she was like a kid with a magnifying glass and a bunch of ants."

Bull's alibi was that he went to Taco Bull and then called Cindy Harmon, asking if he could come over. He left the Taco Bell and went to Cindy's. He reportedly left Cindy's home at 8:45 p.m. The murder is estimated to have occurred at 9 p.m.

Kelly concluded that Becky orchestrated her own alibi. As a nurse at the hospital, she was also in charge of scheduling.

Dexter Mons, a co-worker of Becky's at the hospital, said, Becky has a list of pregnant patients. She was in charge of the schedules. She would know when someone was going to have a baby. She could've scheduled herself that night in advance."

During the climactic interview with Bull in the TNT van, he said, "Becky was flirty. I watched her take a bath."

When asked if he had sex with her he was at first noncommital before conceding to Alan Brown that while he didn't have sex with her on a regular basis he might've had sex with her between five and ten times. He denied he was in love with Becky.

When Brown said, "You called her 29 times and left to eat at 8:45 p.m.", Bull bailed out of the suddenly uncomfortable atmosphere of the van.

"All right, I'm gonna end it now," he said.

Julia Slater, the District Attorney, appeared at the end of the show and said she would agree to accept the case and gave local law enforcement officials including Sgt. Matt Blackstock the green light to arrest both Becky and Bull on charges of murder.

Dustin Smith and Heather Brooks were updated by Kelly and Yolanda. They were ecstatic and thanked them for their work on the case.

Kelly said, "While the people in Georgia talk slow, they act fast."

She was referring to the fact the suspects were already arrested before she show was over.

Next week on TNT will be a special episode including a discussion of cold cases with John Walsh as a guest. The show will air at its normal 9/8 cst slot on Friday.

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