High Court: Liquor Store Owner’s Murder Conviction Should Stand


Justice can take many twists–if it ever arrives.

Take the case of Marvin Vernis Smith, the wealthy liquor store owner who viciously murdered his lovely wife Minnie with a fireplace poker and then made the bloody crime scene at the couple’s Cypress residence look like a burglary gone wrong.
At one point, prosecutors weren’t sure they could nab a cocky Smith and he walked free as a man worth $5 million as a result of inheriting Minnie’s half of their estate.


Then Michael F. Murray, a ranking member of Orange County’s District Attorney’s elite homicide unit, took the case, convinced a jury that Smith was guilty and watched as an appeals court later nixed the conviction on a dubious technicality.
Now–five years after the brutal murder, an incarcerated Smith learned the news: a California Court of Appeal based in Santa Ana, which had reversed his conviction and 25 years to life sentence earlier this year, today reversed it’s reversal.
The California Supreme Court strongly hinted to the appellate panel that it had erred.
The result: As it stands, Smith–who was represented by defense lawyers Jennifer Keller and Kay Rackauckas–won’t get the new trial he’d been seeking.

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