Murder Defendant Sentenced to Life With No Chance of Release

Nov. 17, 2022 7:40p

(WGTD)---The crime was horrible enough: A man with a history of domestic violence kills his 40-year-old girlfriend. But what happened next sealed the fate for the 41-year-old defendant.

After shooting Gia Martin in the back in the apartment the couple shared last year, 41-year-old Roderick Smith apparently let her bleed to death without calling for help, hid the body and then feigned to friends and family that she had mysteriously gone missing. Three weeks later, members of Martin's family began smelling strange odors and Martin's body was found stuffed in a garbage can set out at the curb. 

In court Thursday, Judge Jason Rossell had the option of setting a parole eligibility date for Smith. Rossell declined, saying the circumstances that followed the murder made it clear to him that Smith had no true remorse. 

Martin's mother spoke in court. "My daughter was a loving person. She cared so much for her family and friends," said Rhonda Decicco. "She was always there to give advice. She was there for a shoulder to cry on. She had a contagious laugh and a great sense of humor."

Smith was sentenced after pleading guilty to First Degree Intentional Homicide. Three other counts, including hiding a corpse, were dismissed. Smith had tried to withdraw his plea, but Rossell denied the request Thursday then went on to pass sentence. 

Rossell noted that Smith had a history of diagnosed mental illness, had a chaotic home life and witnessed acts of domestic violence. Smith himself was later convicted of non-fatal counts relating to domestic violence in two cases involving other women.

But all of that wasn't enough to tip the balance and allow Smith to eventually apply for extended supervision.  

Rossell said the death of Martin fit the pattern. ""Children who observe domestic violence in their homes then (often times) grow up to engage in domestic violence," Rossell said. "And here we sit today."