Robert Cline Murder: Where is Anita Smithey Now?

Image Credit: 48 Hours: The Verdict

In May 2010, Anita Smithey made a frantic call to 911 and informed them of the death of her estranged husband, Robert Cline. As the investigators took over the case, some dark truths emerged that led them to the potential perpetrator. In the episode titled ‘Deadly Role Play’ of ‘Evil Stepmothers,’ the viewers are provided with a detailed account of the entire case, including the events that led to the murder as well as the investigation that followed. Moreover, it also consists of exclusive interviews with Robert’s loved ones and experts, who talk about him and the case in detail.

Robert Cline Was Found Dead in Her Wife’s Apartment

Robert H. Cline III was born into the loving arms of Robert and Kathryn Cline on January 18, 1969. In the company of his parents and his beloved sister, Belinda Cline, he grew up to be a kind-hearted man who served as a combat medic with the 3/505th Infantry in Iraq in Operation Desert Storm. When he felt a spark between himself and a woman named Deborah Marie Cline, they tied the knot and made their relationship official in the eyes of the law. Over the next few years, the married couple gave birth to two lovely children, Stephanie and Eric Cline.

Image Credit: CBS News

Unfortunately, in 2003, Robert lost his wife, Deborah, to a heart attack, making him a widower and a single father. Since then, he took on the responsibility of raising his two children without a motherly figure in the household. However, not long after the demise of his wife, in 2004, he crossed paths with Anita Smithey at work, where he worked in the sales department while she was employed as a database programmer. Although the latter was still married with two kids, Michael and Lisa, she was in the process of finalizing her divorce.

During those tough times, Anita turned to Robert for emotional support, which soon transformed into romance. Thus, when her divorce was settled, the two tied the knot on May 6, 2007, and started living together with their respective children. A few years later, in the early morning hours of May 4, 2010, Robert was found dead in his wife’s apartment with two fatal gunshot wounds, one of which landed in his chest. Upon arrival, the police collected evidence from the crime scene and launched an investigation to get to the bottom of the murder case.

Robert Cline’s Estranged Wife Turned Out to be the Killer

As the detectives delved deeper into the case and interrogated Robert Cline’s family members and friends, they learned about the dark dynamics of his marriage life with Anita Smithey. While the married couple initially appeared to have a picture-perfect life, things began changing gradually. According to Anita, Robert started becoming distant and verbally abusive towards her, mainly due to his addiction to marijuana. She even claimed that he had become obsessed with sex at one point.

On the flip side, there were reports of her turning to alcohol quite a lot and mistreating his children, especially Stephanie. Moreover, Robert’s son was purportedly the prime target of his step-brother and Anita’s son, Michael, who allegedly used to bully him on a regular basis, even in front of Anita. All hell broke loose in November 2009 as a heated argument erupted between the married couple, and Anita claimed that Robert punched her. On the basis of that claim, she dialed 911 and informed the authorities of the situation. But Robert did not get arrested.

Soon after that, Anita took her kids and moved out of the house to a place of her own. However, the separation did not stop their frequent rendezvous as they continued to have sexual relations with each other. Things got tense in Robert’s household when Anita started sending him threatening messages about breaking into his house when he was not present. When that smoothened over, Anita told him to come over to fix her broken TV. So, around 11 pm on the night of May 3, 2010, Robert went over to Anita’s place with a bag of cables after sending his children to bed.

A few hours later, in the early morning hours of May 4, Anita called the police station and said, “I think I killed him.” At first, she claimed that Robert had stabbed her, which is why she shot him to death. But later, she confessed that she shot his estranged husband in self-defense as he did not stop forcing himself onto her, as per her claims. Since she had nothing to show for it, she stabbed herself in the stomach to make the police believe in her version of the story. In light of all the evidence, Anita Smithey was arrested and charged with second-degree murder of Robert Cline in 2010.

Anita Smithey is Out on Probation Today

When given a chance to plead guilty, Anita Smithey turned it down and claimed she only acted in self-defense. Four years after her arrest, she was brought to trial, where she was convicted of second-degree murder. Three months later, on February 2, 2015, the convict received a 40-year imprisonment sentence. However, in December 2020, a new trial was ordered after coming to the conclusion that Anita had not received a fair trial earlier, as the defense attorneys made mistakes while presenting her case to the court.

Image Credit: Anita Smithey/LinkedIn

While the prosecutors and the defense were getting ready for a new trial, a deal was made. Anita entered a plea of No Contest to Second Degree Murder Reclassified, which resulted in her being on probation for a decade and having to pay thousands of dollars in fines. After serving just six and a half years of her 40-year sentence, Anita was released from prison thanks to her plea. From what we can tell, she has secured employment as a Data Entry Specialist in Florida. However, if she violates the terms of her probation, the mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years could be imposed on her.

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