The Herald Bulletin

March 11, 2014

Convicted murderer sentenced to 85 years

Victim's mother, sister testify at hearing

By Ken de la Bastide
The Herald Bulletin

ANDERSON, Ind. —

Without uttering a word in the courtroom, Malcolm Cobb was sentenced to the maximum 85 years in prison for the 2013 slaying of Spencer Smith.

Cobb was found guilty by a Madison Superior Court Division 4 jury on Jan. 23 after it deliberated for 90 minutes on charges of murder and robbery. On Monday, Judge David Happe sentenced Cobb, 46, to the maximum sentence with the two sentences to be served consecutively.

During the sentencing hearing, Smith’s mother and sister both made victim impact statements telling Happe that Smith never had a chance to see his daughter.

“Sitting there after Malcom (Cobb) entered the courtroom, I thought that I never wanted anyone to burn in hell,” Smith’s mother, Nancy Humphrey, said. “However it was created for you. That is where you’re going.”

Humphrey said that she lived for several months with her son and slept with a chair propped against the door and with a gun.

“Because of you, he (Smith) wanted me to feel safe,” she said.

When Madison County Prosecutor Rodney Cummings asked her about the impact on the family, Humphrey replied, “There are no words.”

Smith's sister, Andrea Smith, said her life has been changed forever since her brother was murdered.

“A part of my parents died that day,” she said. 

“I feel sorrow for your parents,” she said. “Their son is a murderer.”

Smith said her brother probably knew he was going to be killed when Cobb held a knife to his throat.

“Your face is the last thing my brother saw still haunts me,” she said. “I hope Spencer haunts your dreams for the rest of your life.”

During the trial, Cobb testified that he felt his life was in imminent danger and acted in self-defense.

According to several witnesses cited in a police affidavit, Cobb was identified as the person pulling the trigger.

Smith and Cobb lived in the same duplex in the 6400 block of West County Road 300 South.

According to police reports, Cobb, Smith and brothers Jonathan and Joshua Wood were using drugs and drinking at Smith’s home. Cobb reportedly confronted Smith with an allegation of rape, which Smith denied.

Witnesses told police that Cobb persisted with his claim, holding a knife at Smith’s throat. Joshua Wood told Cobb to stop. When the older man pointed the knife at Wood, Joshua went outside.

Smith got up from the sofa where he was sitting and went into the bedroom, according to police. Cobb reportedly followed him, pulled out a handgun, ordered Smith to open a safe in the closet and then shot him in the shoulder. When Smith stood up, Cobb shot him four more times.

After the shooting, according to the affidavit, Cobb and the Woods took a shotgun, .45-caliber handgun, ammunition and a safe to an apartment in Anderson.

Court records show they couldn’t open the safe and the self-defense story was allegedly concocted while the group was in Anderson. They returned to the Stony Creek Township address where Cobb called 911 and reported the shooting.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 640-4863.