The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX

November 28, 2012

Smith, suspect in husband's murder, dies while in custody

Herald-Banner Staff

GREENVILLE — A woman charged with murder in connection with the 2010 death of her husband has died while in custody.

Hunt County Sheriff Randy Meeks said Melanie Lynn Smith of Wills Point was believed to have died as the result of natural causes.

“A routine internal investigation will be conducted into this death,” Meeks said. “All state and federal agencies have been notified as required by law. Ms. Smith’s family was with her when she passed away.”

Smith, 65, was being held in the Hunt County Jail in lieu of $500,000 bond on a charge of murder, involving the Oct. 22, 2011 death of David Erby Smith. Trial in the case was scheduled for Dec. 10.

Meeks said Smith was transferred to Hunt Regional Medical Center on Nov. 14 with complications from multi-organ failures. On Nov. 21 she was transferred by air ambulance to a Dallas hospital where she passed away later that evening.

Smith and George Stephen Cook of Greenville each received one indictment for murder, with a lesser included count of manslaughter, in August 2011. The pair were indicted in connection with the death of David Smith at a residence in the White Deer Landing Addition in far south Hunt County. Investigators with the Texas Rangers and the Hunt County Sheriff’s Office say Smith was killed early on the morning of Oct. 22, 2010 following a night of heavy drinking and after he allegedly confronted Cook.

Melanie Smith was reported to have stabbed David Smith in the back as he fought with Cook, according to a criminal complaint filed by the Hunt County Sheriff’s Office.

In August of this year the Hunt County District Attorney’s Office filed a motion to dismiss the murder indictment against Cook, noting Cook had agreed to cooperate with the prosecution and had passed a polygraph examination.