By JOSH NEWTON
A man who served a life sentence for a 1982 murder was back behind bars Saturday in Tahlequah and another man was hospitalized after an argument escalated to a stabbing.
James Gregory Smith, 49, of Tahlequah, was being held at the Cherokee County Detention Center Monday for assault and battery with a deadly weapon. Authorities allege Smith stabbed another man, David McDaniel, during a fight.
Smith was convicted of helping murder his ex-girlfriend in 1983.
According to Tahlequah detectives, police were called to a local hospital Saturday night when McDaniel was treated for a stab wound to his upper chest.
McDaniel told police he and Smith were arguing in the 600 block of Sooner Drive. At some point, McDaniel told Smith to leave. Smith did so, but he returned a few minutes later in his truck.
A fight broke out after another confrontation, and Smith allegedly struck McDaniel in the chest before driving away. McDaniel told police he felt some pain and noticed his shirt was covered in blood.
Tahlequah detectives Elden Graves, Chris Boals and Brian Swim were called out to assist the responding officers. Smith was later found, stopped, and arrested.
According to Graves, blood was evident on the door of Smith’s vehicle, which was towed and stored for investigation. Graves said detectives were working on a search warrant Monday that they hope will allow them to collect any DNA or other evidence that might be in the vehicle.
No weapon had been discovered as of Monday, but detectives were told Smith used a knife to stab McDaniel, Graves said.
Conflicting stories exist between Smith and witnesses to the fight, according to detectives.
Booking records show bond has not been set for Smith.
In 1982, prosecutors alleged Smith and his mother, Lois Nadean Smith – known as “Mean Nadean” – tortured and killed his ex-girlfriend, Cynthia L. Baillee, after picking her up in Tahlequah and driving her to Sequoyah County.
Baillee was choked and stabbed in the throat, shot nine times, and stomped on, according to reports of her murder.
Smith was 18 at the time and was eventually given a life sentence.
According to state records, his sentence was complete in 2009.
Lois Smith became the third woman to be executed in Oklahoma – and only the eighth in the U.S. – after capital punishment was reinstated in 1976.