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Larry Thomas Smith


On February 25, 1976, an intruder shot and killed 24-year-old Brady Greenlese, a convicted drug dealer living in Coventry Township, Ohio.
 
Larry Thomas Smith, a 30-year-old man who was serving a week in jail on drunk driving charges, was identified as the shooter by a witness, Sherry Clay, who had left Greenlese’s home just before the shooting.
 
Smith then failed a lie detector test and was quickly put on trial for the aggravated murder and aggravated robbery of Brady Greenlese. Smith maintained that he had been at home, nursing a hangover, at the time of the killing. On June 22, 1976, Smith was convicted of murdering Greenlese, and he was sentenced to life in prison.
 
However, after Smith’s conviction, police continued investigating and found substantial new evidence pointing to a different man as Greenlese’s killer. This new evidence pointed to a 36-year-old Reverend named Larry Noble, who had reportedly confessed to friends that he had killed Greenlese and had concealed from the investigators an alleged bullet wound from his exchange of gunfire with Greenlese.
 
The reopening of this case reportedly caused significant controversy within and between the administrations of the sheriff and the prosecutor in Summit County. Unable to get the prosecutor, Stephan B. Gabalac, to take prompt action regarding Smith’s case, the lead investigating officer, Sgt. Rick Grayshock, ultimately requested a special grand jury and special prosecutor in May 1979 so that the new evidence of Smith’s innocence could be presented.
 
This new evidence collected by the sheriff’s office showing that Smith had not been the killer soon resulted in Smith being granted a new trial in January 1980. The new evidence included testimony confirming Smith’s alibi regarding his whereabouts at the time of the shooting and medical reports regarding Larry Noble’s alleged bullet wounds. Prosecutor Gabalac called the judge’s decision to grant a retrial as “more emotional than legal.”
 
Smith’s retrial, in which attorney Angelo Fanelly represented him, ended in an acquittal on November 11, 1980.
 
After his release, Smith filed a federal lawsuit in which he sued the State of Ohio and many named government employees for his wrongful imprisonment. In 1992, he was awarded $190,936 in damages.
 
Smith was killed in a car accident in 2000 at the age of 54.
 
– Meghan Barrett Cousino
State:OH
County:Summit
Most Serious Crime:Murder
Reported Crime Date:1976
Convicted:1976
Exonerated:1980
Sentence:Life
Race:Caucasian
Sex:Male
Age at the date of crime:30
Contributing Factors:Mistaken Witness ID