Intern Killer Gets Life in Prison

A jury sentenced William Smithson to life in prison without parole Monday for the murder, kidnapping and attempted rape of Jason Shephard in September 2006.

Shephard, who was an intern for electronic scoreboard company Daktronics, was visiting the area on business from South Dakota when he was killed.

Smithson, a manager in the company’s Philadelphia-area office, invited Shephard to his home where he drugged the 23-year-old with GHB, stripped him and attempted to rape him.

When Shephard awoke and tried to fight off the attack, Smithson strangled him to death. The man then wrapped his body in sheets and hid it in his basement.

He filed a missing persons report for the intern and even picked his family up from the airport to help them search for their son.

After the killing, Smithson called his ex-boyfriend Daniel Hall and told him he needed help, but did not explain why. The boyfriend traveled from Virginia only to find what Smithson had done. He immediately left the home and traveled back to Virginia.

Hall contacted police three days later and told them about the killing. Police found Shephard's decomposing body in Smithson’s basement.

Delaware County District Attorney Michael Green said he was pleased with the jury’s finding Monday afternoon.

"We are extremely pleased with the jury's finding of guilt in this case and accept their determination that the defendant should be sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole", said Green.  " We thank the jury for their service, attention, and careful deliberation in this case."

Formal sentencing is set for mid-January 2009.

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