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70-Year-Old Faces Capital Murder Charges After Fatal Shooting Of 3 People At Church Potluck Dinner


A 70-year-old man faces capital murder charges in the fatal shootings of three people at a church potluck dinner last month.

The Jefferson County grand jury indicted Robert Findlay Smith earlier this week in connection with the June 16 shootings that took the lives of Walter “Bart” Rainey, 84, of Irondale; Sarah Yeager, 75, of Pelham; and Jane Pounds, 84, of Hoover, al.com reported.

Police were called to a report of an active shooter at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Vestavia Hills, a wealthy suburb of Birmingham.

Roughly 25 people, including Smith, went to the church late that afternoon for a “Boomers Potluck” dinner. Smith had previously attended some worship services and at least one of the previous potluck dinners there, authorities confirmed.

Jefferson County prosecutors presented the case to the grand jury, which returned indictments against Smith on Thursday.

“Smith has been indicted for capital murder for killing two or more people,’′ District Attorney Danny Carr told al.com Friday. “It is still very early in the prosecution of this case. We will be working closely with the families of those who lost their lives that terrible day … as we progress toward holding Smith accountable.”

Smith is being represented by attorneys Emory Anthony and Moses Stone and remains without bond in the Jefferson County Jail.

A trial date has not yet been set, ABC News.

Smith was sitting alone at the dinner when a church member approached him and invited him to sit with others at a table,  Rev. Doug Carpenter, who founded the church in 1973 said.

Smith refused the offer before he pulled out a handgun and shot three people, authorities and reports said.

A church member was able to rush Smith and hit him with a chair, and held him until officers arrived, according to police.

Rainey was pronounced dead on the scene. Yeager and Pounds were taken to a hospital, where they succumbed to their injuries.

Authorities said they have not yet identified a motive in the slayings.





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