DNA Evidence Links Delmer Smith to 2009 Murder

NEWS RELEASE 18-014 - JANUARY 22, 2018
Smith, Delmer

The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office today charged Delmer Smith III in connection with the 2009 murder of a 34-year-old Sarasota woman, after DNA evidence connected him to her death.

Through DNA evidence, detectives determined Delmer Smith killed the woman on or around April 6, 2009, inside her central Sarasota home. The woman was discovered by friends after she didn’t show up for work. Detectives and the Medical Examiner’s Office launched an investigation which revealed the woman was bludgeoned to death with a baseball bat that was found next to her body. Detectives also determined she was sexually battered with foreign objects that were left inside her body after she was killed. Forensics personnel collected several pieces of physical evidence from the woman’s home including the clothing she was wearing when she was killed. In November 2017, detectives received a report identifying Delmer Smith’s DNA profile on the clothing worn by the woman the day she was killed. The victim did not know Delmer Smith and detectives strongly believe his DNA could not in any other way be on her clothing. Based on the evidence, Delmer Smith was today charged with Murder and Sexual Battery.

Delmer Smith was initially arrested by the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office in October 2009 after DNA evidence linked him to a string of home invasions that occurred throughout Sarasota and Manatee counties. In Sarasota County, Smith was linked directly to the following four home invasions; February 22, 2009 at 3534 Osage Terrace; March 7, 2009 at 1946 Bougainvillea Street; March 14, 2009 at 5240 Carmilfra Way; and May 26, 2009 at 20 Whispering Sands Drive. Smith was also linked to the killing of 48-year-old Kathleen Briles on August 3, 2009, in Manatee County. 

Smith was sentenced to life in prison without parole in 2011 for a Sarasota home invasion and again sentenced in 2013 to death for the murder of Kathleen Briles. Smith’s crime pattern was unique and began shortly after he was released from prison in late 2008. Smith’s victims were typically women who were home alone, tied up, severely beaten, and sexually battered with foreign objects.

Smith is currently in the custody of the Florida Department of Corrections awaiting transfer back to Sarasota County.