Smith sentenced to triple-life for Ellerbe murders

By: By William R. Toler - Editor

ROCKINGHAM — After spending more than 500 days in the Richmond County Jail, Steven William Smith will spend the rest of his life in prison.

Smith, 41, was sentenced Monday to three consecutive life terms for a 2017 triple murder in Ellerbe, according to court documents.

As part of a plea arrangement, made on June 14, Smith pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree murder and prosecutors agreed to drop additional charges of felony breaking and/or entering, having a fictitious driver’s license and resisting a public officer.

Smith, of Jackson Springs, was convicted of shooting and killing his ex-girlfriend, Latasha Durham, her brother, Samuel Durham and their mother, Gloria Jean Durham at their Robinson Avenue home just before noon on Feb. 12 last year.

Sheriff James E. Clemmons Jr. said there were also three children in the home at the time, but they were unharmed.

He was apprehended by the Moore County Sheriff’s Office and Carthage Police Department less than an hour after the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office received the call.

At the time of his arrest, Smith was already facing a pending misdemeanor charge of assault on a female in Montgomery County.

If the case had gone to trial, Smith could have received the death penalty.

Records with the North Carolina Department of Public Safety Division of Adult Correction show Smith is a convicted felon with a violent past.

In 1995, he was convicted on two counts each of assault with a deadly weapon and assault on a female.

Two years later, Smith was convicted on four counts of second-degree kidnapping, one count of aiding and abetting second-degree kidnapping, second-degree burglary, common law robbery and felony larceny.

In 2000, he was convicted of possession of stolen goods and four counts of breaking and entering motor vehicles — three counts in Montgomery County, one count in Richmond County. The following year, he was convicted of assault inflicting serious injury.

He was again convicted in 2012 on three counts of assault with deadly weapon and one count of reckless driving.

Reach William R. Toler at 910-817-2675 or [email protected]


By William R. Toler