Intriguing letter apparently evidence against Alabama man in 1987 Illinois homicide
ROCKFORD, Illinois – A letter kept in a safe is apparently part of the evidence against an Alabama man accused of killing a 19-year-old woman in Illinois in 1987, a lawyer said.
Defense attorney Christopher DeRango made the disclosure on Wednesday, the same day Jesse Smith pleaded not guilty to the death of Rockford’s Tammy Tracey, who disappeared after going to a park to wax her car.
Smith, 64, of Tuscumbia, Alabama, was arrested in Georgia on November 19. He’s a former Illinois resident.
Police declined to say what led to Smith’s arrest. But DeRango said police in a probable cause statement referred to a letter written by someone implicating Smith, the Rockford Register Star reported. The writer is deceased.
“This refers to a letter out of a safe which apparently was not published until after the death of someone making allegations about this matter,” DeRango said. “Frankly, I have no idea how this would be admissible in court or how they intend to establish its veracity. “
The letter was discovered 11 years ago and was written by someone who claims to have had a relationship with Smith in the late 1980s, DeRango said.
Tracey’s remains were found in the Sugar River Forest Reserve in Durand in 1988. She had been stabbed and shot.