Denita Monique Smith was a 25-year-old student studying at North Carolina Central University. On January 4, 2007, she was found dead at the bottom of her apartment steps. When Durham police showed up they realized it wasn’t a tragic accident but a cold-blooded murder. Smith was shot in the head and then fell down the stairs and onto the sidewalk. Three years later, 28-year-old Greensboro Metro 911 dispatcher Shannon Elizabeth Crawley was found guilty of first-degree murder.
Prosecutors claimed Crawley stalked Smith and killed her in a jealous rage. Smith was engaged to Jermeir Stroud, a Greensboro police officer, who had a relationship with Crawley. Crawley testified that it was Stroud who killed Smith. She also falsely accused Stroud of raping her a year after the murder. Crawley was sentenced to life in prison without parole. In 2011, Stroud joined the College Park Police Department. He is married and the father of a son. The murder of Denita Smith will be featured on Dateline NBC on December 18 at 9pm.