Lobbyist Ronald Smith has rubbed shoulders with plenty of important politicos, including Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper -- but he could soon find himself keeping company with a more captive crowd. He faces nearly two decades in stir after being found guilty of bizarre retribution against his ex-wife, including putting raw chicken in her home's vents.
As we've reported, police responded to a break-in call at the home of Smith's former wife on September 29 of last year, according to a warrant on view below. There, they found cleat marks from bicycle shoes that stood out thanks to a finished hardwood floor. In addition, the piano had been damaged by a substance they took to be bleach (it was never positively identified), and the contents of her hard drive had been deleted.
Then, a few days later, employees of a flooring company hired to repair those cleat marks, likely led by their noses, made a bizarre discovery: raw chicken wrapped in blue tape and placed in two vents, presumably so that the stench from rotting meat would circulate through her abode.
Who would do such a thing? Smith's ex had some ideas. She told police that her former husband knew she and her current boyfriend would be in Seattle during late September -- and while they were chilling in the Pacific Northwest, she received some bizarre text messages from him. One read, "Hold those legs up high & long. Happy anniversary to curing your dry female condition in San Diego last yr."
A text Smith sent before the trip dubbed her a "whore," she added. And she said Smith had also put a laminated notice of her death on her front door and asked her if she wanted some chicken that was about to expire.
As for Smith, he allegedly spent part of the evening when police believe the break-in took place at a Coors Field fundraiser for then-mayor Hickenlooper's gubernatorial campaign. He was one of the event's hosts, the warrant states, but one attendee said he showed up late and left early.
In the wake of the charges against Smith, his attorney, Michael Evans, released a statement that read in part, "Mr. Smith has been an important public figure in the Denver community for over a decade, and should be afforded the presumption of innocence at this time just like any other person. What is true -- and what is false -- will ultimately be brought to light in the proper forum of a court room."
He was right about this last assertion -- but the circumstances didn't turn in Smith's favor. After six hours of deliberation, a jury found him guilty of second-degree burglary and criminal mischief, the two counts filed against him. He'll face up to eighteen years in prison when he's sentenced on November 18.
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That's a long time even if there's no raw chicken in your vents.
Below, see a larger copy of Smith's booking photo and the aforementioned warrant:
More from our News archive: "Man gets trespassing notice for telling deli clerk he likes large (chicken) breasts?"