Accused murderer Kirby Wallace appeared in Judge Andy Brigham's Stewart County General Sessions Court for a preliminary hearing at 2:30 pm today, Tuesday, November 6. Defense lawyer for Wallace was Tim Potter and District Attorney Ray Crouch Jr. presented for the State against Wallace, accused in the death of Stewart Co. woman Brenda Smith, who died Sunday, Sept. 23. Wallace's charges include first degree murder, attempted first degree murder along with especially aggravated burglary, kidnapping and arson charges.
Her husband Teddy Smith took the stand first. Crouch asked Smith about that day, when they came home early from church to celebrate he and his mother's birthday. Smith was visibly shaken when recounting the day. He said, "Me and Brenda went home early from church. It was my birthday and my mother's was on the 18th, we were going to my sisters in Clarksville to celebrate." Crouch asked what happened when they got home and said, "Brenda got out and I walked around the car, Brenda was in front of me going up the ramp, he opened the door, grabbed her, and said, if you give me any trouble I'll slit her throat. We walked in and I grabbed him around the neck and was punching him and he stabbed me in the side."
While choking back tears, Smith said Wallace tied both of them up. "He done got me in a closet and tied my feet up with some kind of extension cord and pulled them up to my belt." Smith said he could hear Wallace going through the house while he was in the closet and his wife was tied up on the bed. He said Wallace came back and raked a knife across his throat. "When he came back in he shot me and I was hit on the side of my eye there. Right before he shot. When he went back out Brenda said, 'Teddy he's gonna kill us', she said, 'I love you,' I said, I love you too." At that point he was having a hard time recounting the terror he and his wife experienced in the sanctity and expected safety of their home. "I never heard no more out of her. He told Brenda he was going to burn us." Smith said Wallace poured some rubbing alcohol mixed with lotion for arthritis out on the floor and set it on fire. Then he hit Smith in the head. Crouch had him point out the scar on his head from being hit with a metal object. Smith said he had to have a plate put in his head. He said he could see Wallace start a fire by the doorway from the closet where he was tied up. He also said apparently he had set other rooms on fire. He said, "I heard him leave and I had to get out to get to my son Edward, and I could barely see the front door. Edward could barely get inside the house because of the fire.
One of the last things the DA asked Smith was, "Do you know who did this to you?" Smith said, "Kirby Wallace." Then he pointed him out in the courtroom. When asked if Smith knew him from before, he said his mother and father used to run a grocery store and he remembered years ago, Wallace and his family would get groceries at the store. Wallaces Attorney Potter asked him many of the same questions in different ways and asked if Smith needed a break. He said no, but was obviously upset about the line of questioning about the timeline of events from Potter. We will have more about the cross examination in next week's Standard.
Next, Crouch called 87 year old Clarksville woman Sarah Neblett to the stand. She said she came home from a church service on Thursday afternoon, September 27 and Wallace came up to her after she opened her garage door and forced her inside. She said he told her he hadn't eaten in three days and needed something to eat and drink. She said he was at her house for about four hours and he got nervous after her home phone rang about 7 that night. Neblett said, "He looked around my house and found a 22 rifle and loaded it. He told me, 'I done killed two people.' If you do what I tell you I won't hurt you." She said she was finally able to get loose from the electrical cord she was tied up with but was afraid he was still in the house asleep and so she waited until daylight to call for help. The last thing Crouch asked her was after she pointed to Wallace, "Is this the man who tied you up, broke into your house, ate your food, told you he killed two people?" She answered, "That's right. That's him." Potter had a very short cross examination. She said she lived on River Rd.
The State rested, the defense didn't call any witnesses. Potter asked for Wallace to be returned to the Stewart Co. jail. Judge Brigham said, "There's probable cause to believe these crimes occurred and the defendant committed these crimes. The charges will be bound over to the January term of the Grand Jury." He ruled, there will be no bond on the capital charges 1 and 2. Total bond on non-capital charges including especially aggravated kidnapping, burglary, robbery, and arson totaled $1.4 million. Wallace's lawyer asked for the placement of the defendant to be in Stewart Co. Potter said, "The order said the sheriff has concern about an escape risk. I think the officers here are competent enough to hold him and I think this jail is secure enough to hold him unless the sheriff thinks they can't do it, which is curious that he would believe that." He asked the defendant be held in Stewart Co. or somewhere closer. Crouch said, "It's a question of how many resources have to be used to hold this defendant and keep him and other inmates safe." Brigham said it wasn't his authority but he would request an assessment from Sheriff Gray.