JBLM Army Soldier Nathan Smith Accused of Kidnapping, Rape, Attempted Rape, Torture, and Arson; Sentenced to 11 Years to Life in Prison (2009)

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Nathan Smith, US Army

According to ABC News, US Army Staff Sgt. Nathan Ryan Smith, 29, was charged with kidnapping, rape, arson, and tampering with evidence in the State of Washington. Fort Lewis Army personnel reported that Nathan Smith was Absent Without Leave (AWOL) as of January 5, 2009. Washington state investigators said Smith was suspected of kidnapping and attacking two women.

Smith was accused of grabbing one woman on January 1, 2009 in a Tacoma, Washington parking lot. He allegedly choked her until she became unconscious. The woman claimed when she woke up, she was naked and bound with zip ties in someone’s house. When she tried to free herself, she says she heard a man say, “If you fight, you’ll die.” Then she alleged the man put a knife to her face and said, “If you cooperate, you’ll go home.” According to this victim, the man believed to be Nathan Smith then gagged her and raped her. He also used electrified clamps to torture her and told the woman “If you tell anybody, police or anyone, I will kill you and your family. I can find you. I will find you.”

“After he allegedly raped one woman, Smith told her, I have killed several people in Iraq. I’m crazy in the head, and if I get caught by police I will come looking for you and kill you.” –ABC News

The second victim the police identified was a woman who was kidnapped on January 3, 2009. She claimed once they arrived at the assailant’s home, he choked her until she blacked out. She told police that when she woke up, her hands were bound and she had a gag in her mouth. She managed to escape and ran to a neighbor’s house who called the Washington State police. The second woman gave a similar description as the first victim of the man who kidnapped her. She also identified the same car the first victim identified, the same car Nathan Smith drove.

In both instances the victims said their attacker fit Smith’s description and drove the same kind of car that is registered to Smith. Washington State Police reported that Fort Lewis Army soldier Nathan Smith served as a calvary scout in Iraq from September 2006 to October 2007 and has military and wilderness survival skills. Nathan Smith is considered extremely dangerous. When finally captured and arrested, The News Tribune in Tacoma reported that Smith pleaded not guilty at his arraignment. In 2010, Smith changed his plea to guilty; guilty of one count of second-degree rape, one count of attempted second-degree rape, and one count of first-degree arson. The prosecutor requested 12 years for Smith, adding the brutality he inflicted on the women was off the charts. The Judge sentenced Smith to 11 years to life in prison and it will be up to the Washington state Indeterminate Sentence Review Board to determine when, if ever, Smith is released.

He apologized to the women before being sentencing, saying he hopes the pain he caused them does not endure. He also apologized to his former comrades in arms. “They’re in Iraq right now, which is where I should be,” said Smith, a former cavalry scout with the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division…Defense attorney Wayne Fricke requested a low-end sentence of nine years, three months, saying his client had served his country honorably before going over the line with the women – prostitutes he’d hired to have sex with him. –The News Tribune

Related Links:
AWOL Soldier Wanted in Kidnappings, Rape
Ex-soldier gets 11 years to life in Parkland sexual assault case
Violent Crime, Suicide & Non Combat Death at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington (US Army)