George Hatton Smithey, Found Hanged in San Quentin Cell, Had Just Beaten Death Penalty

Categories: Crime
George Hatton Smithey beat the death penalty -- but instead died by his own hand
George Hatton Smithey, the San Quentin death row prisoner found hanged with bedsheets in his cell Saturday, had just won a legal motion to have the possibility of the death penalty eliminated -- horrifying the survivors of his victim.

Smithey, 70, successfully convinced a judge last week that he shouldn't face death as he is mentally retarded. The family of Cheryl Anne Nesler -- whom Smithey knifed and attempted to rape in a 1988 Calaveras County robbery for meth money -- chalked up the judge's ruling as a success for "bleeding hearts."

"It appears he's learned to beat the IQ tests whenever necessary," Nesler's aunt, Donna Bristow, told the Stockton Record after Smithey's sentence was reduced to life in prison. "It is our family's wish that this murderer would have met his death as ordered by execution."

Added Nesler's aunt Wanda Weatherman: "Our justice system is not justice for us. It is justice for the murderers."

Reached this morning at her home in Calaveras County, Weatherman had not heard of Smithey's apparent suicide. It left her with mixed feelings.

"I don't know what to say on that. I totally believe he knew what he was doing when he murdered my niece and I've seen my family go through this for 20 years," she told SF Weekly. "I hope he made his peace with God. But we didn't think this was justice [for the family]. In my mind, we all knew he was guilty. I know he wasn't insane. I don't think justice was done."

Follow us on Twitter at @TheSnitchSF and @SFWeekly

My Voice Nation Help
Sort: Newest | Oldest

Now Trending

San Francisco Concert Tickets

From the Vault


©2014 SF Weekly, LP, All rights reserved.