Commonwealth v. Lawrence Ray Smith Jr.; Career Criminal Sentenced to Maximum in Disposal of Baby’s Body

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Harvey L. Bryant, Commonwealth’s Attorney for the City of Virginia Beach, announced today that Lawrence Ray Smith Jr., 33 years old, who previously resided in the 900 block of Virginia Beach Boulevard in Virginia Beach, Virginia, was sentenced today by Circuit Court Judge H. Thomas Padrick for Concealment of a Dead Body.  Judge Padrick sentenced Smith to five (5) years in prison, which is the maximum sentence for this crime.  Smith pled guilty on April 3, 2012.  “The only thing you have going for you is that the maximum punishment is five years,” Judge Padrick remarked upon pronouncing his sentence.  “If there was a code of decent behavior, you’d get a life sentence.”

Had this matter gone to trial, the Commonwealth’s evidence would have proved that on September 16, 2011, the 10-month-old victim was left in the care of Lawrence Ray Smith, Jr.  She was last seen with Smith on October 1, 2011.  The baby’s mother became concerned for the whereabouts of Smith and her daughter.  An investigation was initiated by the Virginia Beach Police Department. 


Smith was located on October 21, 2011. He told police that the baby died while in his care on October 2, 2011, and that he then placed the deceased baby in an oceanfront parking garage. Smith did not contact police, rescue workers, or the child’s mother to seek help or provide information about the baby’s death.  The baby’s deceased and severely decomposed body was eventually located on the fifth floor of the parking garage of the Country Inn Suites at 1801 Atlantic Avenue.  Due to the extent of decomposition, the Medical Examiner was unable to determine a cause of death for the victim.   


“His actions violated the social mores of every civilized society,” Bryant said.  “Unfortunately, it fits an often repeated pattern both here and elsewhere – in the absence of the biological father, momma’s boyfriend injures or abuses her children.”  


Smith has a lengthy criminal record dating back to 1997, including convictions for Grand Larceny (two counts), Possession of Burglary Tools, Credit Card Theft, Credit Card Forgery, Distribution of Marijuana, Possession of Marijuana, Petit Larceny- 3rd or Subsequent Offense, Driving with a Revoked License, Underage Possession of Alcohol, DUI, Assault and Battery, Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle, and multiple counts of Petit Larceny. He will face probation violations on three separate sets of criminal charges. 


The case was prosecuted by Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Scott M. Lang and Senior Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Gordon C. Ufkes.  Please contact Macie Pridgen if additional information is desired.