No charges expected in the deaths of 2 homeless people

Associated Press

DULUTH -- Police in Duluth believe they know who killed two homeless people a year ago, but say there's not enough evidence to present to prosecutors for charges.

Jeanie Marie Smith, 49, and her unrelated friend, Donald Erwin Smith, 48, were found beaten to death under a pedestrian walkway on the western edge of downtown Duluth.

"We think we've solved it; we just can't bring it to a conclusion," said Detective Sgt. Bob Erspamer. "You always start out with a motive and the motive is there.

"Our best guess is that it had something to do with emotions. Jealousy, of course, is one of the strongest emotions that a human can have. There are also things he (the suspect) told us that, as we've done the investigation, do not hold up."


Erspamer wouldn't elaborate.

The man police suspect in the killings once lived with Jeanie Smith and was convicted of domestic assault against her one month before the slayings. Erspamer said the suspect has been questioned more than once.

Lead investigator Bob Shene said more than 70 people have been questioned about the slayings. DNA samples were taken from several suspects. After being questioned, the suspects were narrowed to two and finally to one.

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