In 1962, Gayno Smith was convicted of the murder of six family members and was sentenced to five life terms + 50 years.
Gayno Smith or Gayno Gilbert Smith (January 23, 1938 – May 16, 2005) was a mass murderer from Iowa, who killed six people in 1961 and 1962.
Before the murders Smith had been living in Denver, Colorado, but due to problems there had come to Martinsburg, Iowa to live with his stepmother. When he had problems with her as well, he moved to the home of his uncle Andrew and lived there.
On May 27, 1962, Smith murdered Andrew McBeth, 51, and Dora McBeth, 41, and their three children: Amos and Anna McBeth, 19, and Donna Jean Kellogg, 17. Smith, then 24, a nephew of the elder McBeths', confessed to the crime. He also confessed to having murdered his stepmother, Juanita Smith, who had been missing for several months.
The McBeth family lived in rural Iowa, about four miles north of Martinsburg, and Gayno Smith had been living with them at the time. Another daughter, Patsy Lou, 15, was wounded by Smith but escaped in the night and ran to a nearby farm for help. Kellogg's six-month-old baby, Perry, was in a crib and left unharmed.
On the night of the murders, the McBeth children – Amos, Anna, and Donna Jean – had driven to Brighton, Iowa for a dance and Donna Jean, as was her custom, had left her infant in the care of her parents. "Smith remained at the dance a short time, then disappeared until midnight, according to court records. He came back to pick up the group after the dance ended. Thunder, lightning and heavy rain began as the five went to a truck stop for food. When they returned to their farmhouse, the lights were out."
The children found flashlights and made their way around the house to investigate. Donna and Amos found the murdered bodies of their parents in the garage, where they'd been dragged. They tried to call for help but discovered the lines had been cut.
"Suddenly, Smith appeared before them with a flashlight and a gun. He shot Amos in the face, then Donna. He shot Patsy in the shoulder. Though badly wounded, Amos pleaded for his life but was shot again. Patsy escaped to another room where she found her older sister, Anna, already dead.
"Smith chased her to a ditch in the countryside. She played cat and mouse through the ditches, crawling and crouching to escape his roving flashlight through the early morning hours. She finally reached a nearby farmhouse, where she called her uncle, Firman McBeth."
Smith went into hiding but was found four days later in a barn near Lake Wapello. After being arrested, he confessed both to the McBeth murders in Martinsburg and also to the murder of his stepmother, Juanita Smith, the previous October in Hedrick, Iowa. Smith was sentenced to five life terms for first-degree murder and one 50-year term for second-degree murder.
Infant Perry was adopted by his uncle Firman, Andrew McBeth's brother, and raised with Firman's own nine biological children.
Perry, the child in the crib, has spoken about the problems he faced growing up. "All the way through school I was a bully because I wanted people to hurt as bad as I did. I hated everything and everybody," he said. "I'm sorry about that now. When I see those people today, I try to tell them that, but they just don't understand."
Perry graduated from Pekin Community High School
Gayno Smith's body was cremated and buried in Mount Zion Cemetery next to the plot of his mother.
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