A Bothell man was convicted of first-degree murder Wednesday in the slaying of his estranged wife, who was found beaten and drowned in the bathtub of her home in February 2013.
A Snohomish County Superior Court judge found Alan J. Smith, 39, guilty of killing 37-year-old Susann Smith in early February 2013, when the two were in the midst of a bitter divorce, according to court documents. He faces a minimum sentence of 20 years in prison.
Susann Smith was struck more than 20 times in the face and head and then placed face-down in her home’s bathtub, where she drowned, according to an autopsy. At the time of her death, she and her estranged husband were engaged in a custody battle for their two young children, and Alan Smith feared she would take the children to her native Germany.
According to court documents filed around the time Alan Smith was arrested in June 2013, the Boeing employee had previously searched online for information about forensics and evidence and looked up flights to South America. He had purchased a rubber mallet, two sets of chemical stain-resistant coveralls and disposable shoe covers. The mallet has not been found.
During the trial, in which Alan Smith opted not to have a jury, Judge Linda Krese reviewed the testimony of a volunteer at a church where Smith and his then-girlfriend attended. The church volunteer said that in June 2013 Smith confessed to him that he had killed his wife; the volunteer called police three days later. Judge Krese said the confession was key evidence in the trial.