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.”