New information in intern murder trial


Staff And Wire Reports

New information and more charges have emerged in the trial of the Pennsylvania man accused with strangling Daktronics sales intern Jason Shephard.

A Delaware County (Penn.) Times columnist reported Nov. 19 that there may have been another man at the scene of the crime. Called “an administrator from a local college” by local law enforcement, the man signed a sworn statement putting him at the house where Shephard died. According to the lawyer for the accused, the man was there at the precise moment of death.

The news comes three days after a Pennsylvania judge ordered the accused man to stand trial on charges of killing Shephard, who spurned his sexual advances.

William F. Smithson, 41, of Glen Mills, Pa., a sales manager for the Brookings-based scoreboard manufacturer, allegedly slipped the “date-rape” drug GHB into Shephard’s drink during dinner Sept. 18. Authorities contend that Smithson attempted to rape Shephard and strangled him when he resisted.

The body of Shephard, 23, of Cavalier, N.D., was found wrapped in bed sheets and belts in the basement of Smithson’s home three days later, according to court documents.

Smithson was also charged Nov. 16 with sexual abuse of children in a separate case after photos and movies were found on his computer depicting boys and girls engaged in sexual acts. Authorities said they found the images after confiscating his computer for the murder investigation.

Smithson, who was manager of Daktronics’ Edgemont, Pa., sales office was charged with murder, kidnapping, attempted rape, drug charges and related counts.

Shephard had been a student at Northern State University in Aberdeen. He was not enrolled at the time of his death, but was expected to attend SDSU in the spring semester, friends told “The Collegian” in September.

KELO, a Sioux Falls television station, reported that students at NSU are holding fundraisers and hoping to set up a scholarship in his name.

#1.883953:774231631.jpg:shephard22.jpg:Jason Shephard: