The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Local News

January 29, 2013

Man held in death of Lapel man made 911 call

Smith’s body found in bed

LAPEL, Ind. — New details emerged late Tuesday in the shooting of Spencer A. Smith.

Details about the disagreement that led to his death are still unclear, Madison County Sheriff Ron Richardson said.

But it was 45-year-old Malcolm Douglass Cobb Jr., currently being held on a preliminary charge of murder, who made the 911 call reporting the shooting.

During that call, Richardson said, Cobb told dispatchers he shot Smith, 22.

Spencer lived at a duplex in the 6400 block of West County Road 300 South, and died of multiple gunshot wounds about 3 a.m. Tuesday, said Coroner Marian L. Dunnichay. A full autopsy including toxicology testing is scheduled at Indiana University Health Ball Memorial Hospital in Muncie today.

Richardson said Spencer’s body was found in the bedroom of his home.

And there was an eyewitness to the shooting that detectives have been interviewing. Richardson did not name the eyewitness.

That new information will be presented to Madison County Prosecutor Rodney Cummings today so Sheriff’s Department detectives can have more time to complete their investigation, Richardson said.

Cobb and Smith lived in the same group of duplex homes, neighbors said.

Investigators remained at the scene most of the day on Tuesday collecting evidence and conducting interviews.

Cheryl Humphrey, a relative of Spencer’s by marriage, said the family was shocked by news of the shooting.

“We loved him and thought of him as our nephew,” said Humphrey, whose nephew, William A. Humphrey, is Spencer’s stepfather. “We don’t know the circumstances. All we know at this point is that he was shot.”

Cobb, meanwhile, has a criminal history in Madison County, according to court records.

In December 2009, he was accused of raping a woman he threatened at knife point at his home in Anderson.

He was charged with rape as a Class A felony, battery with a deadly weapon as a Class B felony and domestic battery as a Class A misdemeanor.

Cobb is scheduled to stand trial on those charges late next month.

According to an account in The Herald Bulletin at the time, a woman told police that after an argument, Cobb slapped her, held a kitchen knife to her throat, and forced her to have sexual intercourse.

The woman told police that his knife handle broke during the attack. Anderson police detectives reported finding a broken knife and evidence of a struggle in the house, according to the account.

Cobb initially denied having sex with the woman, but later told police that he and the woman had consensual sex.

In November 2008, Cobb pleaded guilty to dealing marijuana, a Class A misdemeanor. He was sentenced to in-home detention and ordered to pay a fine of more than $5,000, according to a summary of court documents,

Because of the rape charge, however, Cobb’s home detention was revoked and he was returned to jail.

It was not immediately clear when he was released from jail on that charge.

Find Stu Hirsch on Facebook and @StuHirsch on Twitter, or call 640-4861.

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