Friday, December 11, 1970

12111946 - Lansing Police Officer Clayton Smith - Acquitted Of Shooting Death Of Wife Roxanne Smith

On August 21, 1946,  Roxanne Smith - wife of Lansing Police Officer Clayton Smith - was shot and killed in her home. According to officer Smith, his wife was bent over the crib of their nine-month-old son, when their thirty-one month-old son had shot her with his service revolver.

Roxanne's mother - Roxie Anthony - informed police that she had heard Roxanne and Clayton arguing in the upstairs bedroom of her home, shortly before she heard the fatal gunshot that killed her daughter. Roxie also gave the police department a torn shirt that her daughter had been wearing the day of her death.

Roxie also informed police that her daughter Roxanne had brought her infant son downstairs to her, before going back upstairs - she heard more arguing between Roxanne and Clayton, including her daughter yelling at Clayton, "You can't do that to me" - at which point Roxie heard the gun-blast. After hearing the gunshot, Roxie told police that Clayton came downstairs and claimed to her that his two-year-old son had shot his wife/her daughter Roxanne.

Within a week of the shooting, Officer Clayton Smith was arrested and charged with the murder of Roxanne Smith. Officer Smith admitted to shooting/killing Roxanne,  to Ingham County Prosecutor Victor Anderson

Smith later recanted his statement and claimed it was his son who had shot his wife. At trial, Smith said he had admitted to murdering his wife to the prosecutor, in order to protect his two-year-old son.

At trial, the three-year-old [who had been in the care/custody of Officer Smith's family, since the death of his mother] was unable to demonstrate on the bench/before jurors that he could fire his father's police officer revolver. 

Circuit Court Judge Paul Eger took the child into his chambers and later returned to the bench and informed the jurors that the boy picked up the gun, cocked it, and pulled the trigger three times.

Officer Clayton was thus acquitted of the murder of his wife, Roxanne Smith.