DETROIT (AP) — A 29-year-old Detroit man who once told police “I kill people for money” pleaded guilty Monday to eight murders, including the contract killing of a police officer’s wife.
Vincent Smothers pleaded guilty to eight counts of second-degree murder and a gun charge in exchange for a minimum sentence of 52-years in prison. With credit for time served since his arrest, he could be freed when he’s about 80 years old.
Smothers shocked detectives two years ago when he confessed to the eight slayings during around-the-clock interrogations. He told investigators his hits were all related to the drug trade except for the final one, the killing of 47-year-old Rose Cobb on the day after Christmas in 2007.
Jury selection was to begin Monday in Wayne County Circuit Court for the Cobb slaying.
“He’s just glad there’s closure for everybody,” defense attorney Gabi Silver told The Associated Press after the hearing.
Including Smothers? “Everybody,” she replied.
Without the deal, “we’d have to try eight cases,” assistant prosecutor Robert Stevens said after the hearing. “It’s an equitable resolution with a substantial amount of time.”
Cobb was killed while sitting in her van outside a pharmacy. Police said Smothers, wearing a ski mask, broke a window with a tire iron and shot her in the head.
He told police that Cobb’s husband arranged the killing while having an affair. David Cobb was never charged and hanged himself in September 2008.
“My stomach was in knots,” Smothers told detectives after his April 2008 arrest. “I felt like she was innocent. … All the rest were dope dealers.”
“I don’t have a profession,” Smothers told police. “I kill people for money.”
Smothers received a 50-year minimum sentence for the murder charges and a two-year sentence for the gun charge.