Career criminal pleads guilty to 2012 Ste. Genevieve murder - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Career criminal pleads guilty to 2012 Ste. Genevieve murder

Curtis Smith (Source: Jefferson City Correctional Center) Curtis Smith (Source: Jefferson City Correctional Center)

A man who has already served time for a woman's 1984 murder pleaded guilty to another woman's 2012 murder and was sentenced to life in prison.

Curtis Smith pleaded guilty to second degree murder in the death of Kristi Murphy, 53, of Columbia, according to the Ste. Genevieve County Prosecuting Attorney's Office.

Murphy, a former VA nurse, was found dead in a bathtub at the Microtel Inn and Suites in Ste. Genevieve on Nov. 17, 2012.

According to the probable cause statement, Smith called in Murphy's death as a suicide.

Investigators now believe Smith strangled Murphy with a shower curtain, and then staged a suicide.

Kristi Murphy, a former VA nurse, was described by family members as a wonderful caregiver. They remember her as a giving person, who they say was "too trusting".

Smith spent more than 20 years behind bars for killing a 17-year-old Minnesota girl back in 1984.

According to court documents, he told investigators he has fantasized about killing people and considers himself a dangerous man who doesn't belong on the streets.

He was released from prison on parole in 2010. 

In January 2013, Smith was back behind bars on a drug charge.

This life sentence is to run consecutive to the murder charge he is currently serving from 1984. He was released early on the 1984 murder sentencing and violated his parole when numerous charges were filed in the death of Kristi Murphy in Ste. Genevieve. 

Those charges included possession of marijuana, armed criminal action, stealing of a credit card and murder first degree. The charges were dropped when Smith made a plea deal to plead guilty to second degree murder. 

There was a three-day trial scheduled last week for Smith at the St. Francois County Courthouse. During a break of the second day of the trial, Smith pleaded guilty to second degree murder as part of the deal. 

Smith was being held in the Jefferson City Correctional Center. 

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