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Woman Was Raped Then Murdered By A Shepherd After She Had Seen Him Shoot Her Husband And Child

Devil: Malkhaz Kobauri

An American woman was raped then murdered by a shepherd in ex-Soviet state Georgia after she was forced to watch the man shoot dead her husband and four year old son, say prosecutors.

The killer had logged onto pornographic websites before staging his attack, it is alleged.

The horrific case is due to go to trial but it was earlier believed Lora Joy Smith had died falling off a cliff as she fled the crime scene in the Khata Gorge, 52 miles from Tbilisi. Later reports alleged that Kobauri drowned her.

Now investigators - working with the assistance of the FBI - have said there is forensic evidence that 19-year-old shepherd Malkhaz Kobauri raped the terrified mother after killing her husband Ryan, and the couple's young son Caleb.

Then he murdered the 42-year-old woman in 'aggravating circumstances', forcing her off a cliff at gunpoint, it is alleged.

The shepherd had been showing the family to a scenic waterfall on July 4 this year when he turned the gun, first on husband Ryan and then on 4-year-old Caleb.

Wretched Smith Family

An argument ensured after 43-year-old Ryan - who like his wife had joint US and Georgian citizenship - told Kobauri to take care with the hunting rifle he was carrying. 

Ryan told him he had not acted cautiously enough with the weapon, 'especially in the presence of the child,' prosecutor David Kazarashvili told the court.

The 'irritated' shepherd then shot him in the back and face before shooting dead his son at point blank range, according to the autopsy. 

New charges have been made against Kobauri that he raped the wife despite his defence's claims that he was incapable of having sex and was a virgin.

'The investigation found that before the incident, Malkhaz Kobauri had been visiting pornographic websites, which underlines his interest in this regard,' said prosecutor David Kazarashvili.

DNA tests found the shepherd's sperm was found in the body of the victim and on her underwear, said reports citing law enforcement.

Earlier Georgian media reported that the police had found photos of Lora Smith on Kobauri's mobile, taken after she fell into the ravine.

Shortly after the DNA results from the autopsy were declared Kobauri's lawyer David Girgvliani quit the case.  

Girgvliani did not give one specific reason, but said in a statement reported by Georgian news outlet Agenda that he has always 'fought against illegalities and his goal was to establish the truth' concerning the case. 

'I refuse to continue to participate in the case. I wish success to those who will defend Kobauri's interests,' Girgvliani said.

The defendant's new lawyer Lekso Kobaidze insists his client is innocent, and he has retracted an earlier confession.

He is now claiming that 'two foreigners' killed the family and intimidated him into not saying a word.

Georgia Today reports that the accused says two men from the North Caucasus turned up in Khada Gorge in a black car before shooting dead the family.

However, no witnesses have come forward saying they also saw the car.

'They told me that they would kill my family members if I reported the murder,' Agenda quoted Kobauri as saying.   

Kobauri's mother Mariam Martiashvili has said her son was forced to confess, but prosecutors say Kobauri showed police where the child's body was hidden.


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