Joliet man who killed mother, dumped body in river sentenced to 32 years

Shane Smith

Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announced that a Joliet man who choked his mother to death and dumped her body in the Des Plaines River near the Brandon Road Lock and Dam has been sentenced to 32 years in prison.

Shane Smith, 37, of the 1600 block of Black Road, pleaded guilty to one count of First-Degree Murder in June for killing Joan Smith at her house during an argument on Oct. 13, 2013.

Circuit Judge Carla Alessio Policandriotes handed down the sentence last week.

Smith, who lived with his mother, had been drinking and fishing near the Brandon Road Lock with his wife on the day of the argument. Joan Smith would not allow her son’s wife to live in her house because of frequent arguments between the couple.

The dispute with his mother began when Shane Smith attempted to sneak his wife into the house that evening. Joan Smith told her to leave. Shane Smith left as well, but he returned alone later that evening and began arguing with his mother. During that dispute, he choked his mother to death, placed her body in a garbage bag and drove her to the Brandon Road Lock. He dropped her body in the river where it was discovered downstream several days later.

Shane Smith, who threw the jeans he had been wearing during the murder into the river, told his wife what he had done. She made a statement to Joliet police, who recovered the jeans. Investigators also matched DNA from the victim with hair that was found on her driveway near the wheel of her vehicle.

“Shane Smith is a selfish coward who killed his defenseless mother because he could not abide by her house rules,” said State’s Attorney Glasgow. “The vicious nature of this murder demonstrates the dark depths of this defendant’s depraved heart.”

Smith had prior convictions and served prison time for aggravated robbery in 2000 and an aggravated domestic battery in 20018.

State’s Attorney Glasgow thanked Joliet police for their excellent investigation as well as his prosecutors, Mark Fleszewski, Katheryn Tinich, and Tom Slazyk, who had prepared a strong case for trial.


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