Suspect grins at details of slaying at court hearing

Bond denied to Smith, 4 other killing suspects
Corey Smith is a homeless man accused of sexually assaulting and killing Pat Burley, a 54-year-old woman with Down syndrome.

The homeless man accused of sexually assaulting and killing a 54-year-old woman with Down syndrome smiled Friday as the victim's family told Senior Superior Court Judge William Fleming of the horrors they believe he unleashed on their loved one.


The brutal details of the incident, read by Assistant District Attorney Anthony Nicastro, prompted sadness from Pat Burley's family and friends. The grin that repeatedly crept across 29-year-old Corey Smith's face was enough to make at least one of them run from the courtroom in outrage.

"It's bad enough that he kidnapped her, raped her, strangled her," said Larry Hobbs, the victim's cousin. "Then he had the audacity of putting her in a trash can."

Burley's body was found in a wooded area on Hall Street four days after she went missing from her Wrightsboro Road home on Aug. 22.

Her hands and feet were bound, and paper towels were found crammed into her throat. Nearby, they found a trash can with Smith's bloody fingerprints on it. Investigators think he killed her by asphyxiation at another location, then took her to the woods in the trash can.

During an interview with police after the slaying, Nicastro said, Smith -- who is black -- became enraged at the investigator questioning him and demanded that the investigator leave and that they "bring in one with his own skin color." He is facing an assault charge stemming from that police interview.

After hearing the details of the case, Fleming denied bond.

The judge also denied bond Friday for four others charged with murder, including:

- Darian Thomas, who investigators think violently shook his 2-year-old stepson -- causing cranial bleeding and death. The boy was taken to Medical College of Georgia Hospital on Aug. 19. Thomas, 20, initially told investigators the boy ran into a wall but later admitted to striking the child, blaming it on stress caused by his time in the Army.

- Mariah Federick, 18, who is charged in the slaying of L.V. Wilson on June 28. She, along with co-defendants Andre Jackson and Marcus Tyler, is accused of robbing Wilson at his Haynie Street home, beating him over the head, stabbing him with a box cutter and slashing his throat. Nicastro said it was Federick's idea to rob the victim. Jackson and Tyler are also accused of murdering Jquanda Johnson on July 2. Nicastro said Friday that Johnson was stabbed to death by the two men because they feared she was going to talk to the police about Wilson's slaying.

- Carlton Wadley, 37, and Brett Palmer, 38, are charged with murder in the shooting death of 27-year-old Tremell Walker on Forsythe Street. The Aug. 30 slaying is believed to stem from a previous fight in which Walker hit Palmer with a golf club.