In March 2011, the town of Hugo, in Lincoln County, was shaken by the murders of Charles and Laura Clagett, an elderly couple who'd lived in the area for years. Soon, their great grandson -- later ID'd as Greg Smith, a few weeks shy of seventeen -- was arrested and charged as an adult. He's now been convicted of first-degree murder, for a crime spelled out in shocking detail throughout an arrest affidavit on view below.
According to the document, the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office received a 911 call early on March 30, 2011 in relation to a rollover crash with its driver, Smith, trapped inside the vehicle. Emergency personnel were able to extricate him from the vehicle, a Ford pickup, in short order. But as they did so, they noticed a number of eye-catching details -- like, for instance, a large stack of cash in different denominations wedged between the truck's shattered windshield and the dashboard. Also scattered about were approximately $600 worth of antique coins.
When quizzed about the money, Smith said that they'd gotten it from his great-grandparents house, where he was living, before the Claggets left for Blackhawk, presumably to gamble.
Rather than simply assuming that the Claggets were fine with Smith running around with so much moolah, a LCSO member headed to their home, at 42867 County Road. But when he found the residence locked, he moved on -- temporarily, as it turned out.
A return visit was prompted by a call later that morning from the principal at the local high school. He told officers he'd spoken to a student who said she'd been shown photos of the Clagetts bloodied and "dead in bed." The principal also said that Smith had been acting nervous and angry during the week, and had apparently been on his own.
The officer later spoke to the student, a teenage girl who said she'd dated Smith "for nearly a week." She said Smith had told her he'd discovered "his great-grandma lying in bed with her eyes popped out of her eye sockets and her face was bloody," the affidavit states, while his great-grandfather "was lying in the bed facing to the right with a bullet hole in the back of his head."
Continue to read more about the Greg Smith case. To prove that he wasn't simply making up a story, Smith offered to bring the girl photos of the scene -- and he did. She responded by telling him he needed to contact the police immediately, but he refused, allegedly because he'd touched all the guns in the house and had taken money and his great-grandfather's van. For that reason, he believed the cops would assume he had murdered them.
Unsurprisingly, the officers decided they needed to chat with Smith pronto, so they headed to Swedish hospital in Denver, where he'd been taken after the accident. During the conversation, he insisted that when he'd last seen his great grandparents, several days previous, they'd been perfectly fine -- but when he returned from school that day, they were gone. He reportedly assumed they were "gallivanting" around and had left him to fend for himself.
Another interview with agents followed, and this time, the document maintains, Smith came clean, even though his mother was in the room for part of the conversation.
"I got a hinkling feeling on Sunday night [March 27]," he said -- and when one of the agents asked what had happened to his great grandparents, he replied, "They had gotten shot."
Why?, asked an agent
"Cause I'm gonna pull it off," Smith is quoted as telling him. ""I'm gonna go down and shoot my great grandparents."
The reason he did so, he added, was "kinda just for the hell of it...to see if I could get away with it."
These thoughts went through Smith's head that Sunday, the affidavit relates. He was restless, couldn't sleep, and he started thinking about quarreling with the Clagetts -- "all the bickering, all the fighting." Plus, Charles was "attempting to have Alzheimer's" and Laura "did not know exactly what to do."
The solution, in his view, was to "take them out of the picture." Doing so would mean "no more stressed life on me, no more stressed life for them. I'd be perfectly fine."
That's when Smith realized, "There's a .22 hunting rifle downstairs in the dogs' room, there's another one in the basement on deer hoofs," plus "one in the kitchen in the utility room." He grabbed the latter, but after putting a round in the chamber, it didn't work. Neither did another gun stored behind the door. He allegedly said the gun was a pump and he was "going to push the pump back up -- and that one got jammed, too."
The problem, Smith told the agents, was the age of the weapon; it was an antique. However, his great grandfather had gotten a .410 shotgun for Christmas. And as a bonus, it was kept behind a curtain in a carpeted room that would muffle his footsteps, so that the Clagetts wouldn't hear him.
Smith told the agents he then shut a door to make "sure the dog wouldn't get out" and started moving toward his final destination, only to have the furnace shut off. Fearful of being discovered (he'd been caught sneaking out of the house before, prompting his great grandparents to leave on a nightlight), he waited until the heat clicked on again -- a delay of twenty minutes, by his estimation.
Next, he put on some gloves, entered his great-grandparents' bedroom and fired two shots where he expected their heads would be.
Continue for more about the Greg Smith case. Afterward, Smith said he collected the shotgun casings, packed some clothes, a sleeping bag, a map of Afghanistan and the $12,000 the Clagetts kept in a safe on the property. He also left out a large supply of dog food, so his puppy wouldn't get hungry.
Last November, Smith pleaded guilty to the murders, and last week, Judge Jeffrey Holmes sentenced the now-eighteen year old to life in prison on one count of murder in the first degree. The earliest he will be eligible for parole is 2050.
"Justice is served in Lincoln County," district attorney George Brauchler said in a statement, "because Gregory Smith has been held accountable for the brutal murder of his elderly relatives who cared and provided for him. Youth is no defense for homicidal acts of this kind."
Look below to see a 9News report from the time of the original crime, followed by the aforementioned affidavit.
More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "Greg Smith, 17, charged as adult in killings of great-grandparents Charles & Laura Clagett."
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