In December 1974, a young mother named Beverly Lynn Smith was murdered in her home with little evidence left behind. Alan Smith, who lived across the street with his wife, was initially considered an innocent bystander. But over the years, a combination of inconsistent witness statements and coerced confessions led to his arrest and eventual acquittal.
Amazon Prime Video’s ‘The Unsolved Murder of Beverly Lynn Smith’ is a docuseries that delves deep into the ultimately questionable tactics used by the police to arrest Alan. So, if you’re curious about what happened to him and where he might be today, here’s what we know.
Who is Alan Smith?
Alan Smith was born in 1950. At the time of the incident in 1974, he worked for the Humane Society as an animal control officer and lived across the street from Beverly and Doug Smith (no relation). Back then, Alan was married to Linda, and they were raising a daughter of their own, just like Beverly and Doug. At around 8:30 pm, Doug called Alan and Linda’s home because he couldn’t reach Beverly. While Linda went to check on her, Alan stayed on the phone.
Soon, Linda realized that Beverly was on the floor and called for an ambulance. Alan then parked his van outside Beverly’s home and turned on the roof lights so they’d serve as a beacon for the EMTs coming. Beverly was shot to death, and the case initially didn’t go anywhere, eventually turning cold. It wasn’t until 2007 that the authorities decided to re-investigate Beverly’s murder.
By then, a lot had changed in Alan’s life. Growing up, he had it difficult. He had been diagnosed with several mental issues that included depression and mood disorders. He had even tried to kill himself a few times. Alan had talked about hearing voices and had problems with alcohol and weed. Furthermore, he did coke and took pills whenever he could get his hands on them. As per the show, Linda accused Alan of being abusive, and by the mid-1990s, the couple split up.
When Alan’s friend, David Maunder, was questioned by the authorities, he placed Alan at Beverly’s home on the night of the murder. Then, Linda also changed her initial story under intense questioning, saying that Alan might have left home that night and claimed to have remembered seeing him put the rifle into his van. Despite her conflicting stories, the authorities charged Alan with Beverly’s murder in 2008, and he fervently maintained his innocence.
The charges against Alan were dropped months later, and by 2009, the police decided to run an undercover operation called a Mr. Big sting. Through this, one undercover officer hoped to befriend Alan, luring him into committing crimes. Then, another officer, Mr. Big, who would play the head of a criminal organization, would offer Alan protection and money in exchange for a confession regarding a terrible thing he did.
In 2009, Alan was befriended by an undercover police officer called “Skinner” (Danny on the show). Over time, they became good friends, but then Alan got involved with Skinner’s drug deals and other illegal activities. While everyone involved in this was a police officer and the sales were fake, Alan never knew that. He was then introduced to the head of the organization called Jack (on the show). At one point, Jack faked someone’s death and asked Alan and Skinner to dispose of the body and evidence.
Later on, when the three of them were together, Jack asked Alan and Skinner to confess their secrets; it served as insurance against Alan knowing that Jack “killed” someone. Alan, who was scared he would be murdered too, admitted to being involved with Beverly’s murder. He claimed that David was the one who shot her while he stole 40 pounds of weed from the house. However, the amount of weed missing was no more than six ounces. Alan, who believed Skinner was a close friend, told him later on that he only confessed to his involvement because he was scared.
In November 2009, the three of them were together when Alan was reportedly pressured by the other two to confess yet again. This time, he claimed that David had nothing to do with it, but he went in and shot Beverly in the back of her head. However, Alan had differing locations for where the gun was hidden. Still, the authorities felt there was enough to charge him with murder, leading to an arrest in December 2009.
Where is Alan Smith Today?
Alan Smith spent about four and a half years in prison. He had trouble accepting that Skinner was a police officer and while behind bars, he gained a lot of weight. Then, in June 2014, the court threw out the confessions, saying they were coerced. The judge felt there were many inconsistencies in Alan’s confessions. As per the show, since Alan didn’t know he was talking to police officers, his right to remain silent was violated.
After the acquittal, Alan was relieved and said, “I’m actually glad the ordeal is over with. I’m looking forward to spending much time with my family, and that’s all I have to say this morning.” In the time after that, Alan complained of dealing with extreme anxiety. He was frustrated with everything that happened, adding, “They put me through all kinds of horrific scare tactics. I thought my life was in jeopardy. Is this what we do in this country?”
Alan later sued the police officers involved in the sting, the Crown attorneys, and the Attorney General for about $19 million. While the Court of Appeals later ruled that the Crown attorneys were not liable, the other lawsuits are still active. Early on, Alan lived on a government pension in his daughter’s basement in Cobourg in Ontario, Canada. However, it has been reported that he moved to Oshawa, Ontario, sometime after the acquittal. On the show, Alan talked about slowly picking up fishing again, his favorite pastime.
Read More: Who Killed Beverly Lynn Smith?