A Spartanburg, South Carolina, man is in jail after murdering his girlfriend this past Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018. Police say William Tommie Smith, 63, called 911 and reported the crime and then stated he would turn himself into police a little later. The reason for the late turn in was he needed to smoke crack first.
According to Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright, “Right around 8 o’clock, we got a call from a guy that just said he’d killed his girlfriend. He called our dispatch [and said] that he would turn himself in at 9:30. He said he was going to go smoke crack first, so he pretty much did just that.”
Media outlet WYFF-News reported that Smith had beaten his girlfriend, Brenda Kay Tanner, 55, in the head with a baseball bat and then wrapped a power cord around her neck and strangled her. He had just been released from jail on a previous arrest, according to Sheriff Wright.
At this time, there’s no word on why Smith killed his girlfriend at the home. Shockingly, 911 received another call for the same address that same day because the house was now on fire. At least 6 fire departments from around the county responded to the blaze that ultimately destroyed the home. Fire department investigators have called the fire suspicious and are trying to determine the cause.
Two weeks prior to the death of Tanner, her son Bradley Earl Bell, 36, was arrested at the home for stabbing a man six times with a pair of scissors. Bell was charged with attempted murder after he was taken in for questioning, and police found bloodied scissors in his pocket.
At this time, law enforcement has not determined if the stabbing, beating and fire are related in any way.
Smith has been charged with murder and possession of a weapon during a violent crime. He is currently being held in the Spartanburg County Jail without bond.