Arrest made in 33-year-old Richmond homicide case


Sherill Smothers, 54, of Placer County, has been arrested in connection with the murder of Marsha Carter, 25, in Richmond 33 years ago.

On Dec. 7, 1983, Carter went missing. Her children ages 7, 9 and 11 awakened in their home on Santa Clara Street to find a pool of blood on their mother’s bed. They sought help from their neighbor, who went into the house to find their 10-month-old brother underneath their mother’s bed, but not their mother.

Ten days later, Carter’s body was found in the trunk of her own car in West Sacramento.

While police detective Sgt. Stina Johanson was unable to identify a suspect at the time, she kept her focus on the case and reopened it in 2008, leading to a suspect.

In August this year, a Grand Jury convened and indicted Smothers, who was arrested on Sept. 14.

“The department is extremely proud of our detectives’ amazing work, especially Sgt. Johanson’s focus and tenacity,” Richmond police Lt. Felix Tan said. “We hope that this arrest and indictment brings some relief and closure to Marsha Carter’s family.”


  1. How can i get in touch with the Detective in this case….my sister was murdered in Richmond around the same time in 1984..
    the case is still a mystery. …our family needs justice. …plz help

  2. Well done Sgt. Johanson, very well done indeed. I’m not aware if this excellent piece of police work has received the media attention that the negative ones have, but it should. Thank you for your service to our community.

  3. Much praise for this excellent detective work, perseverance and stamina. Richmond is in dire need of more resources to change their community and finally end the rampant crime. It is stories and examples like these which send a strong message. You do the crime, just give it time and justice will be served.

    Thank you Sgt. Johanson.

  4. D Jones,
    Call the Richmond Police Department and ask to speak to Sgt. Johanson or any detective. It’s that easy. The number is 510- 233-1214. Condolences to you and your family.

  5. Hello Sgt. Johanson Great job on your recent work. Well my brother got murdered in 2008 after serving almost 10 years in prison. He wasn’t home for 24 hours and my family needs closure. Can you help us. I am a Richmond resident and have been all my life