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Columbia Man Charged with Murder

Three months after a woman’s body was found at an eastern Missouri motel, a man has been charged in the crime.Curtis Lee Smith, 52, of Columbia is already in prison for second-degree murder for another killing. Now, he is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Kristi Murphy.Murphy’s body was found in a bathtub at the Microtel Motel in Ste. Genevieve on Nov. 17. Smith was on parole at the time of her death.The two met in November at University Hospital in Columbia. Police say at the time, Smith was being treated for post traumatic stress and thoughts of homicide. Murphy was being treated for depression and court documents show she had suicidal tendencies.Officials say a month later, they met at the hotel in Ste. Genevieve. Smith told cops Murphy hanged herself in the bathroom with a shower curtain, but police thought it was suspicious that there was no knot tied around her neck.Smith is now accused of strangling Murphy and taking her credit card. A jury convicted Smith of murder in the 1980s. He was serving a life sentence but was paroled.Smith is jailed on $250,000 bond. He also faces other charges for armed criminal action, stealing and allegedly having marijuana on him the day of the murder. His next court date is set for March.

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