Frankfort Lawyer Charged With Trying to Put Hit on Wife
A Frankfort lawyer locked up in the county jail allegedly offered to pay as many as four inmates to kill his wife.
A Frankfort lawyer jailed for allegedly unleashing a brutal beating on his wife in a courthouse hallway was charged with offering to pay at least four fellow inmates thousands of dollars to kill the woman.
It was unclear where attorney Robert Gold-Smith, 50, planned to get the money to pay for his wife's murder, as he told Judge Marzell Richardson he is broke, homeless and unable to pay for an attorney.
Judge Richardson assigned a public defender to Gold-Smith's case during a brief hearing Tuesday afternoon.
Gold-Smith will be back in court Oct. 17—both for the murder-for-hire case and the shocking allegations of viciously beating his wife, Victoria Smith, 45, outside a Joliet courtroom as they left a divorce hearing in November 2010.
Gold-Smith was released on $2,500 bail shortly after his arrest but was locked up again in March 2011 after he allegedly violated his bond by contacting his wife.
Gold-Smith's attorneys have been trying to prove he is psychologically unfit to stand trial for the alleged attack on his wife. While in custody on that case, Gold-Smith made the acquaintance of Brian McDaniel, a 49-year-old Morris man most recently jailed on a charge of domestic battery and a warrant from the Department of Corrections.
Gold-Smith allegedly solicited McDaniel for the murder of his wife, offering him cash for the job last week.
The police had a warrant for Gold-Smith's arrest within days of the alleged cash-for-killing offer to McDaniel. But McDaniel wasn't the first person to tell such a story about Gold-Smith to the police. He wasn't even the third.
Back in August 2011, Richard Williams, 40, formerly of Joliet and now of Pinckneyville Correctional Center, told police he had "numerous" "friendly" conversations with Gold-Smith until the night his fellow inmate told him, "I'll pay you to kill my wife. I want it done clean."
The overture "shocked" Williams, according to a police report. But Williams thought it over "and spoke to his wife, who advised him to notify law enforcement," the report said.
Williams was willing to wear a wire, police said, and so was Richard Bauer, 52, of New Lenox.
Bauer was also locked up with Gold-Smith, and just like Williams, reportedly said Gold-Smith wanted him to kill his wife.
Gold-Smith told Bauer to "'get rid of the b----' and 'I want the b---- offed'" in June 2011 according to a police report.
The report said Gold-Smith blamed Smith for ruining his life, "that he would lose his profession as an attorney, he would lose his house, he already lost his automobile, and that Gold-Smith's wife was having an affair with a black man."
Bauer reportedly told police Gold-Smith offered him $10,000 to take his wife's life, with an uncle paying $5,000 up front and the rest coming when Gold-Smith got out of jail.
A man who lives at the same New Lenox house as Bauer and also happened to be locked up with Gold-Smith said he, too, was asked about killing the lawyer's wife. Much like Williams and Bauer, Sutton told detectives he was "willing to cooperate with the police in any way possible," according to a report.
Reached by telephone Tuesday, Sutton declined to comment.
"I can't talk about this right now," he said.
Sutton also reportedly said that after he was released from jail in April 2011, Gold-Smith gave him power of attorney, had him withdraw $900 from a New Lenox bank, put $200 on Gold-Smith's jail commissary account and pay Bauer $100. He also had Sutton clean out his Frankfort office and the Lockport apartment he moved to after his wife kicked him out of their Homer Glen home.
At Gold-Smith's behest, Sutton and Bauer then went to the Plainfield law office of Robert Kramer and collected two boxes of files, according to a police report. Kramer represented Gold-Smith in his divorce case.
Sutton and Bauer took the boxes of files, which were labeled "Gonzalez," to the Joliet home of Sutton's brother, police said, where they burned them.
Deputy Chief Ken Kaupas of the Will County Sheriff's Department said investigators believe the burned files contained information about Gold-Smith's business dealings.
Kramer, the Plainfield attorney who allegedly held the files for Gold-Smith and turned them over to Bauer and Sutton, failed to return calls for comment.
At least one man wore a wire for police to try to implicate Gold-Smith in the alleged murder plot. Telephone conversations were recorded with Gold-Smith's aunt and uncle, police said, and a recording device was placed in the roof of the county jail in September 2011.
Also in September 2011, an inmate was wired to record a jailhouse conversation with Gold-Smith.
Gold-Smith patted down the inmate wearing the wire but failed to find it, police said.
The inmate still believed Gold-Smith was suspicious, according to a police report, and he apparently got nothing incriminating out of the talk.
According to a police report, while discussing the idea of murdering his wife on the recording, Gold-Smith told the wired inmate: "Everybody has crazy fantasies, you know? In reality, that's all they are."