The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Local News

January 31, 2013

Two more arrested in Tuesday slaying

911 recording released

LAPEL, Ind. — One man is dead.

Two different versions of events leading to his death exist.

Three men are suspected of playing a role in it.

The math of Spencer Smith’s slaying early Tuesday doesn’t add up yet, and likely won’t until investigators finish piecing together the equation.

These are the latest developments in the case:

  • Madison County Sheriff’s Department detectives arrested two brothers on Thursday, Jonathon Dean Wood, 19, and Joshua Michael Wood, 23.

Both were neighbors of Smith’s, and cousins of Malcolm D. Cobb who was taken into police custody the morning of the shooting. They all live at a group of duplex homes in the 6400 block of West County Road 300 South in Stoney Creek Township.

  • Like Cobb, 45, the two men are being held at the Madison County Jail on a preliminary charge of murder, said Sheriff Ron Richardson.

Cobb’s initial court hearing is scheduled for 1 p.m. today. It was not clear late Thursday when the Wood brothers will have theirs.

  • Detectives are continuing to follow leads and conduct interviews with potential witnesses.
  • The Sheriff’s Department released a 911 recording in which Cobb told dispatchers he shot Smith four times. In the recording, Cobb said he was acting in self-defense.

Tim Wood, father of the two men taken into custody on Thursday, said Cobb was the aggressor.

“I have a situation here,” Cobb told the 911 dispatcher about 3:30 a.m. Tuesday. “I was attacked by somebody and they tried to stab me and went inside and got a gun and tried to shoot me.”

Cobb said he and Smith got into an argument when Cobb accused him of raping and abusing an 18-year-old young woman.

“He didn’t like what I had to say about people who do that, and that’s when he decided, he said, he was going to kill me,” Cobb said.

The two men struggled; first with a knife, and then with a handgun, he said.

Dispatcher: “Where in his body was he shot?”

Cobb: “I can’t tell you, I don’t know. The gun just kept going off. It was an automatic, a 9 mm (pistol), I believe. There were four or five shots, something like that. He just wouldn’t quit coming.”

A few moments later Cobb said Smith had “no reason to rape that little girl and hurt her ... He decided he was going to take matters into his own hands. I didn’t mean to do this, but I couldn’t let him shoot my cousin. I couldn’t let him, I couldn’t let him.”

Just before police arrived at the scene, the dispatcher asked Cobb where Smith was in the house.

“He’s in the bedroom leaning against the wall with blood everywhere,” Cobb replied. “And he’s white and blue. I don’t think an ambulance is going to help him.”

Although it still remains unclear what brought all the men together at that hour of the morning, Tim Wood said it was Cobb who threatened Smith, holding a knife to his throat at one point. Wood’s account was based on what his sons told him.

The two brothers tried to defuse the situation, convince Cobb to put down the knife, Wood said. At that point, Cobb allegedly turned on one of his sons and threatened to hurt him.

“They were trying to talk him (Cobb) out of doing anything.” Wood added.  

Madison County Coroner Marian L. Dunnichay said Smith died from four gunshot wounds in his torso. She said ballistics and toxicology reports from an autopsy should be complete in about two weeks.

In late 2009, Cobb was accused of raping a woman he threatened at knife point at his home in Anderson. He was charged with rape, battery with a deadly weapon and domestic battery. He is scheduled to stand trial in late February.

Funeral services for Smith will be held at 4 p.m. today at Randall & Roberts Funeral Home in Noblesville.

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

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