The family of 77-year-old Clarence David Boose has done a lot of waiting for three-and-a-half years.
It took several months before Douglas County Sheriff’s detectives caught a break and identified suspects in the April 2005 shooting death of the retired jeweler in the Lecompton area.
Boose’s family also had to sit through not one but two trials of 37-year-old Allen Dale Smith, the Topeka man accused of shooting Boose.
Monday afternoon, the waiting game came to an end.
“They said, ‘Dad could rest now,’” District Attorney Charles Branson said after jurors convicted Smith of first-degree murder and aggravated burglary.
Jurors heard testimony last week and deliberated for about four hours Monday before convicting Smith.
“It took so long for the case to develop. The sheriff’s department really worked so incredibly hard on this case,” Branson said.
Detectives had to rely on interviews and other information because they never found the murder weapon, for instance, that co-defendant Leonard Price, Smith’s cousin, said was tossed into the Kansas River.
Even after the August mistrial, when jurors weren’t able to reach a verdict, Branson said sheriff’s detectives never stopped working. They even tracked down Tim James, a federal inmate and Smith’s former cellmate . James testified at the second trial that Smith had confessed the murder to him.
“It helps that we had just a little bit more this time,” Branson said.
Another key witness in the case was Price, who in February 2007 pleaded guilty to first-degree murder for taking part in the botched burglary.
Price said Smith fired the fatal shot from a pistol when Boose interrupted the burglary. Douglas County District Judge Michael Malone will sentence Price at 4 p.m. today.
The two cousins conducted several burglaries in area counties, and they both are already serving prison sentences for attempted murder for a shooting during a Pottawatomie County burglary less than a week after Boose’s killing.
Smith came forward and started talking to officers in late 2005, and during several interviews he tried to pin the blame on Price.
Branson said that Amy McGowan, a chief assistant district attorney, was able to effectively tie together the volume of interviews and information during closing arguments Monday for jurors.
Smith’s defense attorney Tom Bartee had argued that Smith had an alibi during Boose’s murder.
Smith faces 20 years to life in prison for Boose’s murder. Malone will sentence him Jan. 7.