An Elderly Man Attended a ‘Boomers Potluck’ at an Alabama Church. Then, He Pulled Out a Handgun and Shot 3 Diners.

alabama case
Source: Jefferson County Jail; UNSPLASH

May 3 2023, Published 9:51 a.m. ET

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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, reported.

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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

“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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