An Alabama man will serve the rest of his life behind bars for murder after he attended a potluck dinner at his former church and opened fire after one parishioner invited the lone diner to come sit at a table.
Robert Findlay Smith, 71, took a plea deal and admitted he killed three people enjoying what they called a “Boomers potluck” dinner at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Vestavia Hills in Jefferson County late last spring, Al.com reported.
He was sentenced to serve life in prison without the possibility of parole, according to the outlet.
In the early evening of June 16, 2022, a church member asked Smith, who was sitting alone, to join him, said the church's former reverend, Doug Carpenter.
Smith refused and then took out a gun and began shooting at guests, according to Carpenter.
Bullets struck Walter “Bart” Rainey, 84, of Irondale; Sarah Yeager, 75, of Pelham; and Jane Pounds, 84, of Hoover.
The deadly attack ended when one potluck attendee was able get the gun away from Smith after striking him with a chair.
Rainey was pronounced dead at the scene, while Yeager and Pounds later died from their injuries at an area hospital.
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At the May 2 plea hearing, Smith’s defense attorney, Emory Anthony, apologized to the victims' families and asked them for forgiveness, according to Al.com.
“I live the night of June 16 over and over and I probably always will,” said Walter Rainey’s widow, Linda Rainey. “It was a senseless, evil act of murder.”
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