Support the Gilmore Family by Petitioning Against the Release of Bobby Earl Smith

Support the Gilmore Family by Petitioning Against the Release of Bobby Earl Smith

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Amy Woodruff started this petition to North Carolina State Parole Commission and

My father was a Clayton Police Officer and was killed in the line of duty in 1982 (William Rayvon Gilmore Jr.) after he and his partner responded to a call of a large disorderly group playing loud music.   After clearing the group, Officer Gilmore was sitting in his patrol car, completing a report when a man approached the vehicle and shot him in the face, killing him. The suspect was captured the next day.  Bobby Earl Smith was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison on July 14, 1982. 

Every two to three years, our family is forced to relive the tragic events of that cold January night in 1982 and confront the NC Parole Commission to convince them that Smith should not be set free.  The next parole hearing is scheduled for September 29, 2020, but this time it will be held via a conference call due to COVID-19.  Our family fears that Smith will be released this time due to the COVID outbreak and the release of inmates early.  Another point is that we will lack that personal touch of a face-to-face hearing – for the Parole Commissioner to visibly see the anguish our family had endured due to this single event for the last 38 years. 

Why shouldn't Smith be released?  First, his total disregard for human life.  He chose to kill my father – for no apparent reason, or just because he felt like it.  Second, this was not his first offense.  Smith was charged and convicted of two counts of attempted murder before he killed my father.  He served the minimum sentence on those convictions and was released early.  If he had served the maximum penalty for those offenses, he would have still been in prison, and the events of January 30, 1982, would not have happened.  Third, Smith has been charged and convicted of several assaults both in and out of prison.  Fourth, Smith will harm someone else if he is released – there is no doubt! 

I believe anyone can change their ways.  Has Smith changed over the year? – I cannot answer that; however, I can say that, as a Christian and a person deep in her faith, I do forgive him.  But I will never forget, nor will my family and those that knew and cared deeply for my father. 

Romans 13:1-5 says, "Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God's servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience."

God placed my father in his role as a public authority figure to protect and serve the community we live.  Smith rebelled against his authority and should be punished as the sentencing reads, "Natural Life in Prison."

For my entire life, my family and I fault to keep Smith behind bars – fighting against something that a victim's family should not have to fight against.  We have attended every parole hearing, police memorial in our state and nationally, had thousands upon thousands of petitions signed, conducted many TV interviews, been involved with a multitude of public speaking events, and even assisted with starting the Parents of Murdered Children Chapter for NC, amongst other things.  Why should we have to continue to fight this battle? 

God Bless,

Amy C. (Gilmore) Woodruff

 

0 have signed. Let’s get to 1,500!
At 1,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!